Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Research | MedStar Health
Two doctors examine an x-ray film of a patient's hand.

Transforming sports medicine and orthopedic care through science, technology, and research.

Technology in orthopedics is rapidly changing, and the clinical practice of orthopedic surgery has advanced due to these innovations. The orthopedic and sports medicine research program at MedStar Health is closely aligned with its world-class clinical programs, where there is close collaboration between orthopedic surgeons, research fellows, and engineers. Surgical training and teaching laboratories are provided in a one-on-one setting. Multidisciplinary research focuses on degenerative, deformity, traumatic, and congenital pathologies of the musculoskeletal system.

Two doctors examine an x-ray film of a patient's hand.MedStar clinician-researchers and scientists within the Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Research Network have conducted collaborative research in conjunction with the National Football League (NFL), National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Baseball (MLB), and the U.S. National Lacrosse program, among others. In addition, MedStar Health is proud to be the medical care provider for professional sports teams in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., area, including the Baltimore Ravens, Baltimore Orioles, Washington Capitals, and Washington Mystics.  View the full list of athletic team affiliations for MedStar Health here.

Current research topics

Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Research at MedStar Health is committed to advancing medicine and orthopedic care by exploring new treatment approaches and novel surgical procedures and using the latest technological advancements to better understand how the human body moves. Our investigators are leading innovative research studies that seek to enhance the care for patients with orthopedic, sports injury, and musculoskeletal conditions. Areas of expertise include:

  • 3-D printing

  • Biomechanical testing

  • Concussion

  • Foot and ankle injuries and conditions

  • Golf medicine

  • Gait analysis

  • Hand and wrist injuries and conditions

  • Histology

  • Injury control

  • In-vivo biological modeling

  • Joint replacement

  • Kinesiology

  • Musculoskeletal

  • Orthopedic clinical trials

  • Pre-participation exams and clinical screening

  • Protective athletic equipment

  • Radiography

  • Injury prevention and control

  • Rehabilitation

  • Shoulder and elbow injuries and conditions

  • Spine injuries and conditions

  • Sports medicine

  • Sports equipment evaluation

The MedStar Health orthopedic surgery faculty are active in research and work closely with our residents and fellows to conduct research as part of their graduate medical education. Their work has been published in the leading orthopedic journals, including Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Current Orthopaedics and Related Research (CORR), Arthroscopy, American Journal of Sports Medicine, Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, Foot and Ankle International, Spine, and Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (JAAOS).

View a list of publications from 2023-2024 here.

Research labs and resources

Researchers in orthopedic and sports medicine at MedStar Health have access to several state-of-the-art labs to conduct their research. A total of 10,000 square feet of well-equipped research space is dedicated to orthopedic research and surgical skills training. These facilities support resident and fellow projects and education, company-sponsored grants, and NIH and foundation-funded research.


Biomechanical Research and Surgical Techniques and Technology (STAT) and Laboratories

The Biomechanical Research Laboratory at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital is dedicated to performing advanced biomechanical experiments. This laboratory is one of the first research labs in the country to use a KUKA QUANTEC Robotic Arm. This 6-degree-of-freedom simulator can mimic natural joint kinetics and kinematics to test orthopedic implants and novel therapies. The robotic manipulator controller receives data from a 3D tracking camera and various external transducers simultaneously to measure parameters such as displacement, joint forces and torques, and contact pressure. Static and fatigue testing of specimens can also be conducted in the laboratory using a hydraulic MTS Bionix unit.

The Surgical Techniques and Technology (STAT) Laboratory is a state-of-the-art laboratory offering multi-station facilities for surgical techniques training. The conference room and lab area have interactive audio/visual connections to two MedStar Union Memorial Hospital’s OR suites, providing an ideal environment for training in innovative surgical techniques.

For more information, contact Biomechanical Research and STAT laboratories director Pooyan Abbasi, MS, at Pooyan.Abbasi@medstar.net.


Musculoskeletal Research Center

Onsite at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, the Musculoskeletal Research Center (MRC) is a state-of-the-art 3,500 square-foot laboratory dedicated to musculoskeletal research with core areas of research capability stratified into six categories:

  1. Micro-Computed Tomography
  2. Biomechanical Testing
  3. Histology
  4. 3D Printing
  5. In vivo biological modeling
  6. Resident and fellowship training

Fully equipped with the latest advancements in robotics and virtual laboratory training, the MRC is designed to serve as a regional resource center for researchers, residents, fellows, and attending clinicians within the MedStar Health network and a site for collaboration between private industry and academic centers.

This laboratory contains a 6-degree-of-freedom (6DOF) musculoskeletal simulator designed to apply controlled multidirectional motions in flexion/extension, lateral bending, and axial rotations to musculoskeletal structures. An optoelectronic motion analysis system is typically integrated into biomechanical testing platforms to quantify and compare segmental kinematics after destabilizing or reconstructing musculoskeletal structures.

For further information, contact the MRC director, Bryan W. Cunningham, PhD, at Bryan.W.Cunningham@medstar.net.


Microsurgical Laboratory

The Microsurgical Laboratory, accredited by the AAALAC, is available for pre-clinical research studies and training in microsurgical procedures. The facility contains three dissecting microscopes and a full complement of related microsurgical instruments. In-depth training courses are available on a wide array of microsurgical neurovascular models.

For more information, please contact Sione Fanua, Microsurgery Instructor, Researcher, Microsurgical Lab, at Sione.Fanua@medstar.net.


Curtis National Hand Center

The Johnston Building at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital is a modern brick and glass building.The Curtis National Hand Center is the preeminent Center for hand and upper extremity surgery. Located in Baltimore, Maryland, the Curtis National Hand Center treats patients from around the country, performing cutting-edge hand and upper extremity surgical procedures. The Center also provides advanced Fellowship training to surgeons pursuing the hand and upper extremity sub-specialty.

For more information, please contact Aviram Giladi, Research Director, Curtis National Hand Center at giladi@curtishand.com.



Gait and Motion Analysis Laboratory

The Innovation in Motion Laboratory (iMoLab) is a state-of-the-art laboratory for human movement analysis aimed at advancing new methods and technologies for the characterization, augmentation, and restoration of motor functions. Research activities cross multiple disciplines, including engineering, kinesiology, and medicine, strongly emphasizing biomechanics, robotics, rehabilitation, athletic training, and neuroscience.

For further information please contact Dario Martelli PhD, Director, Gait and Motion Analysis Laboratory at Dario.Martelli@medstar.net.


Sports Medicine and Concussion

MedStar sports medicine’s orthopedic and sports health research division conducts clinical research that enhances patient outcomes and improves sports safety by performing innovative research in orthopedics and sports medicine. Investigations focus on clinical research in injury prevention and control, injury epidemiology, biomechanics, rehabilitation, and kinesiology to improve physical performance, reduce the risk of injury in sports and exercise, conduct clinical drug trials, and evaluate sports equipment.
Investigators within the sports medicine and concussion program have conducted numerous collaborative research which includes:

  • Trends in concussion Incidence in high school sports
  • The prevalence of cardiovascular disease risk factors among active professional (NFL) football players
  • The prevalence of cardiovascular disease risk factors among retired professional (NFL) football players
  • The epidemiology of mild traumatic brain injury in boys’ and girls’ high school lacrosse players
  • A study of head, face, and eye injuries in scholastic and collegiate lacrosse
  • Descriptive epidemiology of youth baseball injuries
  • A long-term prospective study of ACL repair vs. reconstruction
  • Creation of the MedStar NewClip Center for Knee Preservation, with a mission to advance the science of minimally invasive, anatomy preserving interventions in the knee that will allow the healthy fit and athletically inclined patients to continue their pursuits.

For more information, please contact James Dreese, MD, Director of Sports Medicine Research, James.C.Dreese@medstar.net.

Awards and recognitions

  • Recently, MedStar Union Memorial was recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a top 50 orthopedic program in the country, ranking #48 out of more than 4,500 hospitals. We also earned the highest rating possible in hip replacement and knee replacement.
  • MedStar Health researchers have partnered with the National Football League, Major League Baseball, and the U.S. National Lacrosse program, among other sports teams, on studies examining injury prevention, minimally invasive treatment options, and recovery.
  • Our clinician-scientists have access to the latest technology and are making use of innovative surgical techniques, prostheses, and devices, including novel 3D printing technology, to find new and better ways to care for orthopedic conditions and joint injuries.
  • MedStar Health is home to world-class residency and fellowship programs in orthopedics.


Research and Teaching Awards:

  • The 2023 Roger H. Michael Resident Project Award for Outstanding Achievement in Orthopedic Research was awarded to Sean Sequeira MD, Brian McCormick MD, Mark Hasenauer MD, and Henry Boucher MD for their research: Home health care is associated with an increased risk of emergency department visit, readmission, and cost of care without reducing risk of complication: a propensity-score analysis.
  • The 2023 Roger H. Michael Fellow Project Award for Outstanding Achievement in Orthopedic Research was awarded to MitchTarka MD, and Greg Guyton, MD, for their research: Data censoring likely biased the largest randomized trial of Achilles tendon rupture treatment against surgery: a Monte Carlo analysis.
  • The 2023 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Orthopaedic Teaching was awarded to Mark Hasenauer, M.D.

Grants Awarded:

  • Haislup B, Wright MA, Sanghavi KK, Giladi A, Thomas A. The intersection of racial and spatial inequalities on utilization and outcomes for common orthopedic procedures. Awarded the 2021 MedStar Early Investigator Grant.
  • Miller SD. First MTP fusion using staple compression plates. Awarded a Depuy/Synthes IIS Grant.
  • Pivazyan G, Tortolani PJ, Lucas SL, Beaufort AR, Brooks DM, Mueller KB, Cunningham BW. Quantitative histomorphological characterization of human cervical nerve roots to determine the relationship with postoperative C5 palsy. Awarded the 2020 CSRS 21st Century Research Grant.
  • Wright MA, Murthi A, Stein JA, Ashmyan R. Limited health literacy in patients with rotator cuff tears: risk factors and outcome effects. Awarded ASES Candidate Research Grant.

Research and scientific leadership

  • Total joint replacement surgery

    Henry Boucher, MD
    Physician Executive Director MedStar Orthopedic Institute Baltimore
    Chairman of Orthopedics, MedStar Union Memorial Hospital

    Mark Hasenauer, MD

    Robert McKinstry, MD

  • Foot and ankle surgery

    Gregory Guyton, MD

    C. Walter Hembree, MD

    Stuart Miller, MD

    Jacob Wisbeck, MD

  • Spine surgery

    Mesfin Lemma, MD

    Paul McAfee, MD

    Brad Moatz, MD

  • Shoulder and elbow surgery

    Anand Murthi, MD

    Jason Stein, MD

  • Sports medicine

    Wiemi Douoguih, MD
    Orthopedic Surgeon, member MedStar Orthopedic Institute
    Regional Medical Director, MedStar Sports Medicine
    Director of Sports Medicine, MedStar Washington Hospital Center

    Steven Svoboda, MD
    Orthopedic Surgeon, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and MedStar Washington Hospital

  • Team physician - NHL’s Washington Capitals, Major League Rugby’s Old Glory DC Rugby Club, and Prince George’s County High Schools

    James Dreese, MD

    Allison Fillar, MD

    Richard Hinton, MD

    Richard Levine, MD

    Milford Marchant, MD

    Jason Hammond, MD

  • Surgical Technique and Technology (STAT) Lab

    Pooyan Abbasi, MsC
    Director, STAT Laboratory
    PhD candidate in Robotics

  • Microsurgical lab

    Sione Fanua
    Researcher, Microsurgical Laboratory

  • Musculoskeletal Research & Innovation Center

    Bryan Cunningham, PhD
    Scientific Director, Musculoskeletal Research Center

  • Curtis National Hand Center

    Aviram Giladi, MD
    Scientific Director, Orthopedics at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital
    Research Director, The Curtis National Hand Center

    Christopher Forthman, MD

    James Higgins, MD

    Peter Innis, MD

    Ryan Katz, MD

    Kenneth Means, MD

    Keith Segalman, MD

    Neal Zimmerman, MD

    Ryan Zimmerman, MD

  • Gait and Motion Analysis Lab

    Dario Martelli, PhD
    Senior Research Scientist
    Director Gait and Motion Analysis Lab

  • Research administration

    Amy Loveland
    Director, Scientific Center Administrator (SCA)
    Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Research

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