Welcome to Cheryl Ackert-Bicknell Lab

Lab Director, Cheryl L. Ackert-Bicknell, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

Cheryl L Ackert-Bicknell, Ph.D.

Cheryl Ackert-Bicknell, PhD

Associate Professor

Department of Orthopedics
Mail Stop 8343
Research Complex 1 North
12800 E. 19th Avenue, Room 2102
Aurora, CO 80045


Ph.D., Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Maine
M.Sc., Physiology, University of Western Ontario
Hon. B.Sc., Molecular Biology, and Genetics, University of Guelph

Lab Members

Reed Ayers

Reed Ayers, PhD
Research Associate Professor

As a materials engineer working in a clinical environment, for the past 5 years and ongoing, I am investigating the how and why spinal instrumentation fails in-vivo. Combining my background in materials engineering, synthesis, and corrosion research I set up a program at the University of Colorado, School of Medicine to investigate microbial influenced corrosion of orthopedic alloys. My discoveries from data collected via my ongoing retrieval of patient hardware include: 1) the association between intrinsic device material properties and detrimental patient outcomes; 2) the presence of bacteria local to the hardware and diagnosed infection and metallosis (leaching of biomedical alloy elements into the surrounding tissues). I discovered that the standard clinical method for bacterial identification rarely matches the bacteria sonicated directly from hardware removed from a patient. Using my experience in metallurgical methodologies combined with genetic analysis from sonicated hardware I created the infrastructure to establish the link between diseases such as metallosis and infection to the microbial milieu on the implanted hardware. 

PhD, Aerospace Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder
MS, Aerospace Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder
BS, Aerospace Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder

Beatriz Bermudez

Beatriz Bermudez 
Graduate student

Beatriz a Mechanical Engineering student studying the effects of polyunsaturated fatty acids on bone strength and fracture toughness. She says her curiosity stems from the mathematical formulas that attempt to model the world we live in. She enjoys running and spending time with her loved ones in her free time.

B.S. Mechanical Engineering, University of Colorado, Denver


Veronica ButlerVeronica Butler
Research Services, Senior Laboratory Science Professional

Veronica is a Clinical Research Coordinator who works with the clinical spine team to develop new methods to identify spine infections associated with hardware implants through blood and tissue samples.  When she is not in the research lab, she enjoys digital, black-and-white film photography, although a native of Colorado she loves her Dallas Cowboys and tries her best to never let anything orange touch her skin.

B.S. Biology, University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Dana Godfrey, Research Services Senior Laboratory Science Professional

Dana Godfrey
Research Services Senior Laboratory Science Professional

Dana was trained in Mendelian and Complex Trait Genetics at The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor Maine.  A native of Connecticut, Dana has embraced the Colorado weather and enjoys golfing.


Mitchell HutchingsMitchell Hutchings
Masters Student

Mitch has a bachelor’s in Biomedical Engineering from the Ohio State University. He is currently at the University of Colorado at Anschutz where he is working on his master’s thesis focusing on surface corrosion characterization of spinal implants using colorimetric analysis through photogrammetric methods.

Education: B.S. Biomedical Engineering

Adrianna Joyce, B.S.

Adriana Joyce
Masters Student 

Adriana Joyce is a Materials Engineer pursuing a master's degree in Bioengineering, studying silicon nitride ceramics' surface characteristics and bacteriostatic behavior.

Major in Materials Engineering, Minor in Biomedical Engineering  

Greg Ottenberg

Greg Ottenberg
Research Services Senior Professional, Laboratory Sciences

Greg Ottenberg received B.S. and M.S. degrees from Florida State University before working at the Scripps Research Institute, The University of Florida, and currently at the University of Colorado-Anschutz where he manages the laboratory of Dr. Cheryl Ackert-Bicknell. He enjoys studying genetic factors that are involved in bone development and disease, specifically those that directly regulate osteoblast development and the resultant effects on bone composition, bone formation, and mineralization.

B.S, Florida State University
M.S. Florida State University

Edwin WojcikEdwin Wojcik

Edwin Wojcik is an undergraduate studying bioengineering at CU Anschutz. He is currently working in collaboration with several projects within the lab, performing PCR and analyzing tissue samples to improve methods of bacterial identification in infection.

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