Orthopedic Research Program Grows

Cheryl Ackert-Bicknell, PhD’s research activity and grant success is part of expanded basic research in orthopedics on the Anschutz Medical Campus and the emergence of the Colorado Program for Musculoskeletal Research (CPMR). 

Evalina Burger, MD, and Robert D’Ambrosia, MD, current and former chairs of orthopedics, committed to expanding the research program in 2018 and recruited Michael Zuscik, PhD, as research vice chair and director of the CPMR to lead the effort. 

Earlier this year, Zuscik received a $3.175-million grant from the National Institutes of Health to analyze the link between the gut microbiome and osteoarthritis — specifically in obese people — and investigate whether strategies that shape the gut microbiome can halt or reverse the progression of the disease. 

Since Zuscik’s arrival, the Department of Orthopedics has recruited four additional seasoned and early-stage investigators, increasing the number of research-focused faculty to 10. The department’s research base has also grown by nurturing collaborations with 32 faculty in eight basic science and clinical departments across the four CU campuses. This group of 42 multidisciplinary and collaborative faculty now make up the CPMR. 

Even more impressive, with Ackert-Bicknell’s new grant, the department’s total research portfolio has increased more than 10-fold, from $2.4 million in 2018 to more than $27 million today.

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