The mission of the Department of Biomechanics is to apply principles of engineering and materials science to solve orthopedic problems by conducting basic and applied research that translates to the development of orthopedic devices and instrumentation aimed at improved patient care. The Department also provides education and training for students pursuing careers in orthopedic surgery and biomedical engineering.
The Department’s research, development, and educational programs are conducted in collaboration with the Hospital’s Orthopedic Services, the Hospital’s Research Institute, and Cornell University, the latter through the Center for Advanced Materials and Engineering in Orthopaedics (CAMEO).
Specific areas of research include: the design and performance of total joint replacement systems including patient specific orthopedic devices; kinematics and contact mechanics of joints like the knee, ankle, and shoulder; biomaterials for joint restoration; and in vivo systems for measuring joint stability and mechanics.
Each year members of our department volunteer to participate in the Perry Initiative. This is a one-day program, championed by Dr. Shevaun Doyle, for young women in high school to explore careers in orthopedic surgery, engineering, or both. In this workshop, students have the opportunity to learn about various aspects of orthopedics and biomechanics through lectures, hands-on activities, and question and answer sessions. Engineers, Residents, Clinical and Research Fellows, and Attending Surgeons work together to give an overview of these exciting career options. More information about the Perry Initiative can be found here.
The goals of the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS)- Cornell University (CU) Combined Engineering and Orthopaedics Training Program are to identify, train, and empower a select group of high potential investigators to utilize the principles of engineering to advance patient care through interdisciplinary research while nurturing them to become successful academic and clinical leaders in the musculoskeletal and orthopaedic sciences.
These goals will be achieved by: (i) carefully selecting exceptional and highly motivated pre-doctoral and postdoctoral trainees, (ii) providing them with unique training, mentoring, and research opportunities adapted to a sub-specialty academic hospital, and (ii) placing an emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches and focused mentoring to address clinically relevant research problems.
Applications to fill two pre-doctoral positions are invited from diverse graduate students in the School of Engineering at Cornell University. Trainee selection is based on outstanding performance in an existing mandatory summer ‘immersion’ term at HSS, a strong supporting letter by an HSS-based clinical collaborator, and a commitment to spend a minimum of one full semester at HSS.
Applications for two post-doctoral positions will be invited from: (i) high caliber and diverse residents identified by HSS Clinical Service Chiefs and the Training Program Executive Steering Committee as rising-stars capable of pursuing clinician-scientist career pathways, and (ii) PhD post-doctoral fellows who have demonstrated exemplary potential through prior grant support, highly cited peer-reviewed publications, and strong cross-disciplinary collaborations. Additional key selection criteria for all positions are strong research plans that meet the mission of the Training Program, a desire to pursue an academic career, and a strong preceptor.
A key strength to the training program is the central and unifying 40+ year relationship between HSS and the School of Engineering at Cornell University. This relationship has been recently reorganized into a revitalized cross-institutional center: CAMEO (Center for Advanced Materials and Engineering in Orthopaedics https://hsscameo.engineering.cornell.edu/) from which Training Program preceptors are drawn. Preceptors include scientists and clinician scientists with strong track records of conducting federally-funded research applying engineering principles aimed at improving patient care through basic and translational research. Trainees benefit from a strong mentoring program and a dedicated Mentorship Committee, extensive core services, expanded capabilities in epidemiology and biostatistics, institutional patient registries, and newly created Regenerative Medicine and Genomics Research Centers that traverse our research and clinical departments. A 10+ year collaboration with Weill Cornell Medicine (WCM), and especially the WCM Clinical and Translational Science Center (CTSC), provides formal coursework, seminars and symposia.
The success of the Department of Biomechanics depends solely on the insightful clinical observations, intriguing clinically important questions, and the novel innovative ideas that stem from our “Surgeon Champions.” The collaboration between the Orthopedic Services and the Biomechanics Department staff provides a rich collegial environment from which to pursue research, product development, and educational initiatives.