Jan Nolta Lab in the UC Davis Medical Center
Institute for Regenerative Cures - 2016
At UC Davis we have a large number of clinical and basic science research faculty who work on repair of bones, cartilage, muscle, and connective tissues including joints, tendons and ligaments. For faculty member areas of research interest please see this site:
Many faculty members on the musculoskeletal research team are affiliated with the UC Davis stem cell program. We also collaborate closely with the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME).
Dr. Kyriacos A. Athanasiou joined the UC Davis BME research faculty in 2010. Dr. Athanasiou, Distinguished Professor and Chair of Biomedical Engineering, seeks to understand and enhance the healing processes of cartilage. Indeed, successful cartilage regeneration continues to be the most vexing problem in musculoskeletal medicine. Following trauma (such as sports injuries) or pathologic affliction (such as osteoarthritis), cartilage cannot heal itself in a way that allows it to function properly under its strenuous and biomechanically difficult environment. Professor Athanasiou and his team used adult stem cells from bone marrow and skin, as well as human embryonic stem cells, to grow cartilage tissue in the lab. He and his group are currently experimenting with various chemical and mechanical stimuli to improve the properties of engineered cartilage.
Dr. Hari Reddi, an internationally recognized molecular and cellular biologist, joined the faculty in 1997 as the Lawrence J. Ellison Professor of Skeletal Molecular Biology. He established a school-wide program in tissue regeneration and repair.
A set of slides that serve as an introduction to this field is linked here:
Nolta overview of stem cells and bone repair ----------------------------------------------------
We collaborate closely with the School of Veterinary Medicine, where dogs and horses can be currently treated with stem cells for their musculoskeletal injuries and for osteoarthritis.
The Orthopaedic Trauma Service is an integral part of the multispecialty trauma services that provide a Level 1 trauma referral center for Northern California, Eastern Nevada and Southern Oregon. The trauma service specializes in the treatment of nonunions, malunions and leg-length discrepancies using closed intramedullary shortening, Ilizarov and osteotomy techniques, as well as treatment of malunions.
Dr. Mark Lee from the trauma team is a member of the UC Davis Stem Cell Program and has treated patients who have non-union fractures and avascular necrosis, using their own adult stem cells from their bone marrow.
Walter the pug who has recovered from spinal cord injury
Bone regeneration: Isolation of bone-inducing substances. Identification of skeletal tissue stem cells. Development of in vivo delivery vehicles for cells and bioactive factors.
Bone remodeling: Effects of mechanical stress and fatigue. Hormonal control. Relationship to implants. Effects on mechanical properties. Mathematical analysis and computer modeling.
Bone graft substitutes: Incorporation and remodeling of hydroxyapatite ceramics, collagen and bioactive factors. Material properties, structural properties and finite element modeling.
Structural analysis of biologic tissues: Empiric measurement of strain in relation to physiologic loads in bone and tendon. Finite element modeling of biological strain.
Joint mechanics: Contact areas and pressure in the knee, hip and shoulder in relation to pathology and reconstruction. Dynamic function of the shoulder joint.
Implant Design: Performance (stability, micromotion, fit) of prosthetic implants in relation to design. Analysis of CT data for implant design and selection. New designs for implant/allograft proximal femur replacements.
Peripheral nerve physiology: Pathophysiology of peripheral nerve dysfunction in relation to intermittent compression and traction. Animal models of occupational nerve disorders.
Allografts: Control of the immune response to osteocartilaginous allografts. Allografts for proximal femur replacement. Biologic activity of bone bank allografts in relation to sterilization and storage methods.
Gait analysis: Effects of tibial torsion and foot position on motions at the knee. Analysis of spastic gait in cerebral palsy patients. Hip joint coverage in abduction bracing. Human and canine hip dysplasia.
Bioactive factors: Role in cartilage healing. Effects in systemic circulation. Role in osteoinduction.
Tendon repair: Physiologic response of cultured tenocytes to mechanical strain.
Spinal instrumentation: Biomechanical analysis of anterior and posterior instrumentation.
Health care professionals who wish to refer a patient to the UC Davis Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinic should call (800) 4-UCDAVIS or (800) 482-3284.
Patients who would like more information about the clinic should call (916) 734-7041.
One Medicine (for Man, Woman, and man's best friend):
We are working toward a clinical trial for dogs with spinal cord injury, like Dr. Nolta's Walter, and are currently writing grants to try to fund this trial for our canine friends. Phlianthropy is very gratefully accepted for this project.
Please see "the horse report" for Walter's story and picture, and for other work where the veterinary and medical teams are closely collaborating:
Link to the 2010 copy of The Horse Report, which has descriptions of many of the areas in which we collaborate to help equine and canine health, and improve human health in the process