Our Research

Payne Lab

The growth plate (or physis) is a cartilage region at the end of all long bones in children that provides signals for bones to lengthen during development. When injured, bony tissue can form in the growth plate, resulting in a “bony bar”. This can lead to angular deformities or completely halt bone elongation. Our research program focuses on developing therapies to prevent bony bar formation and promote growth plate cartilage regeneration. The main research areas are outlined below:


Animal models for growth plate injury 
Our group has experience with the rat and rabbit model of growth plate injury. This allows us to study the mechanisms of bony bar formation seen after injury and develop approaches to prevent this bony repair tissue. These animal models also provide us with the opportunity to test novel regenerative medicine approaches to regenerate growth plate cartilage. 
Research, Payne Lab
Prevention of bony bar formation after growth plate injury  
Drug delivery systems allow us to locally deliver biological factors that could prevent bone formation after growth plate injury. We are testing various factors in hydrogel systems developed by Dr. Melissa Krebs at the Colorado School of Mines. 
Growth plate cartilage regeneration
We have research projects that utilize hydrogels augmented with stem cells and/or growth factors to promote growth plate cartilage formation. Some of these projects are in collaboration with Dr. Stephanie Bryant and Dr. Virginia Ferguson at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Payne Lab
Enhancing bone formation in spinal fusion
We also study the revitalization of bone allografts with induced pluripotent stem cells and bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells and test their efficacy in a rat model of spinal fusion.