Bryan W. Cunningham

Bryan W. Cunningham, PhD, is director, MedStar Musculoskeletal Education and Research Institute (MMERI), Division of Orthopaedic Research, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, MedStar Union Memorial Hospital. In this position, Dr. Cunningham is responsible for formulating and executing MMERI’s annual scientific and research strategy and for developing and maintaining a multidisciplinary research center capable of conducting biomechanical testing, histologic and radiographic studies, in-vivo biological modeling, and clinical research.

Dr. Cunningham supervises all basic science projects performed at MMERI and assists his MedStar colleagues in forming and implementing research strategies. In addition, he collaborates with academic leaders, institutions, and private industry worldwide. His patents include the “Compression-Distraction Spinal Fixation System” (U.S. Patent No. 8,864,800 B2) and the “Compression-Distraction Spinal Fixation System and Kit” (U.S. Patent No. 8,968,367). He has other patents pending.  

Dr. Cunningham has published more than 130 articles in peer-reviewed journals. His published research has been on topics such as spinal reconstructive surgery, biomechanical fixation, and surgical techniques. He is associate editor of Spine Deformity, and he reviews manuscripts for Spine, Journal of Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, The Spine Journal, European Spine Journal, and the Journal of Orthopaedic Research. His work has been published in Spine, Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine, Clinical Spine Surgery, and other prominent journals.

His educational responsibilities include developing and incorporating the non-clinical research fellowship program for MMERI and providing research guidance to medical school students and orthopaedic residents, fellows, and attending physicians. He has mentored more than 15 PhD-level fellows in spinal research. In addition, he holds an appointment as an adjunct professor, Menzies Health Institute, Queensland School of Medical Science, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia.

Dr. Cunningham has received numerous research awards, including an award for “Best Podium Presentation in Translational Research” from the European Orthopaedic Research Society and a “Basic Science Resident Research Award” from the Cervical Spine Research Society. He is a member of the Scoliosis Research Society, the Orthopaedic Research Society, the North American Spine Society, and the International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery. He has presented his research at more than 500 specialty society meetings, giving presentations for the Scoliosis Research Society, North American Spine Society, Cervical Spine Research Society, Orthopaedic Research Society, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, International Meeting of Advanced Spine Techniques, International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery, and others.

Dr. Cunningham received his PhD in Musculoskeletal Spinal Research from the School of Medical Science, Center for Musculoskeletal Research, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia.

Research Interests

Dr. Cunningham’s research interests include the following:

  • Spinal reconstructive surgery
  • Intersegmental motion preservation systems
  • Innovative surgical techniques

Selected Research

Biomechanical and Radiographic Evaluation of an Articulating Interbody Fusion Device for Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Biomechanical Properties of Direct Lateral Interbody Fusion with Supplemental Posterior Instrumentation for Adjacent Level Reconstruction

Multidirectional Flexibility and Fixation Properties of Occipital Bolt versus Plate Stabilization Systems

View Dr. Cunningham’s publications on PubMed.

  • Research Areas
  • Orthopedics/Sports Health