Zijun Zhang

Zijun Zhang, MD, PhD, serves as Director of the Orthobiologic Laboratory, Department of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore, and conducts research in the fields of bone regeneration, cartilage repair, tissue engineering, stem cell biology, and cartilage biology. His work focuses on the clinical translation of stem cell technology and biologics to regenerative medicine and orthopedic surgery.

Dr. Zhang's research has been funded by several agencies, including the Department of Defense. His work has received numerous national awards and has produced many peer-reviewed publications. He serves on the editorial boards of several journals and reviews manuscripts for more than ten professional journals. In addition, he participates on review panels and evaluates grant applications for several agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

He is actively involved in several professional societies, including the Orthopedic Research Society, Osteoarthritis Research Society International, International Stem Cell Research Society, American Bone and Mineral Research Society.

Dr. Zhang received training in orthopedic surgery in China and Australia and worked for several world-renowned institutions, including the Bernard O'Brien Institute of Microsurgery, University of Auckland, the National Institutes of Health, and Johns Hopkins University. Before joining MedStar Health, Dr. Zhang was a tenure-track assistant professor at St. Louis University, where he established the school's orthopedic laboratory research program.

Research Interests

Dr. Zhang's research interests include

  • Bone regeneration
  • Stem cell biology
  • Tissue engineering
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Cartilage biology and repair

Selected Research

Dr. Zhang has 20 years of research experience on mesenchymal stem cells (adult stem cells). In his early career, he studied the physiology of joint pressure and blood flow and revealed the roles of endogenous bone marrow stroma stem cells and endogenous bone morphogenetic proteins in guided bone regeneration. He improved the efficacy of osteogenesis and chondrogenesis of stem cells via intracellular and extracellular manipulations. His research in bone regeneration and fracture healing addresses the balanced needs of osteogenesis and angiogenesis. His laboratory characterized and applied endothelial progenitor cells derived from umbilical cord blood to re-vitalize bone allograft. Ongoing projects investigate the use of circulating stem/progenitor cells to promote fracture healing.

Dr. Zhang's laboratory has extensive expertise in pre-clinical models of osteoarthritis, induced through surgery or strenuous running. Current projects investigate cartilage progenitor cells in cartilage degeneration and the chondrocyte pericellular matrix in cartilage regeneration and as biomarkers for early diagnosis of osteoarthritis. The laboratory also works to promote the integration of tissue-engineered cartilage after implantation.

View Dr. Zhang's publications on PubMed

  • Research Areas
  • Core Services
  • Orthopedics/Sports Health