We investigate the basic cellular and molecular mechanisms of disc fusion, with the goal of harnessing these innate mechanisms to result in the formation of a more consistent fusion mass. We foster a close collaboration between clinicians and a multidisciplinary team of investigators with expertise in cell biology, molecular biology, and biomechanics. Our overall goal is to use our research findings to develop novel and innovative therapies for our patients.
Dr. Cunningham has clinical interest in thoracic and lumbar spine care, including spinal deformity (scoliosis, flatback, kyphosis, and spondylolisthesis) for adult and pediatric patients, and degenerative problems (stenosis, herniated discs, arthritis, instability) in adults. He conducts clinical research and participates in two multi-center study groups to improve outcomes in pediatric (CSSG) and adult (ISSG) spine deformity surgical patients. Dr. Cunningham’s laboratory is focused on the goal of developing a minimally invasive spinal fusion technique that would eliminate the need for open surgery. His laboratory investigates the basic cellular and molecular mechanisms of disc fusion, with the goal of harnessing these innate mechanisms to result in the formation of a more consistent fusion mass.
Our laboratory consists of a multidisciplinary team of investigators with expertise in cell biology, molecular biology, developmental biology, biomechanics, mechanical engineering, and biomaterials, and orthopedic surgeons from the Sports Medicine Service.
Matthew E. Cunningham, MD, Laboratory Director
Robert Frawley, BS, Graduate Student
George (Nick) Spaniel, BS, Technician
Iyer, Sravisht MD, Resident, HSS
Carl Blobel, MD, PhD
Joseph Lane, MD
Stephen Doty, PhD
Adele Boskey, PhD
Frank Cammisa, MD
Celeste Abjornson, PhD
Chisa Hidaka, MD
Han Jo Kim, MD
Frank Schwab, MD
Virginie LaPhage, PhD
Bernard Rawlins, MD
We have opportunities for medical students, residents, fellows, and post-doctoral candidates to work in our laboratory. Our laboratory carries out translational research related to disc fusion. Medical students, residents, and fellows can assist with animal surgery, tissue dissection, tissue preparation for histologic analysis.