The Harris Orthopaedic Laboratory (HOL) has over five decades of experience in addressing problems in adult reconstructive surgery by innovating new surgical techniques, devices, joint implant designs, and joint implant materials. Notably, several formulations of highly cross-linked ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE), stabilized by re-melting or vitamin E,weredeveloped for large scale usage in implant manufacturing in this laboratory and havesince changed the landscape of joint replacement by reducing the number of wear particles and instances of osteolysis associated with total joint implants. After about a decade of use, these materials have become the gold standard in joint replacement, especially of the hip.
One focus area of the laboratory today is advancing material development in joint repair and replacement. Under the direction of Orhun K. Muratoglu, PhD, the pre-clinical material research team develops novel UHMWPEs for improving the longevity of joint implants and expanding the use of joint replacement safely to younger and more active patients. Another cutting edge area is the development of non-degradable hydrogel-based materials for integrative and mechanically feasible repair of cartilage defects at an early degenerative state. The materials research team collectively brings experience in material and polymer science, polymer chemistry, biomaterials and biomechanics testing and bench-to-clinic implant development as well as follow-up testing of explanted devices to analyze in vivo effects.
While the HOL has a strong and successful history in joint replacement, our current projects include applying our expertise to other musculoskeletal systems such as the hydrogel-based treatment of degenerative spine conditions and improving the mechanical and integrative properties of bone grafts.
Another major area of focus is follow-up and analysis of clinical implant performance to provide evidence-based feedback to patients and clinicians. Under the direction of Henrik Malchau, MD, PhD, the clinical research team develops local and regional implant registries in collaboration with orthopaedic surgeons in arthroplasty, spine, hand, sports medicine, trauma, and orthopaedic oncology.They also conduct prospective clinical studies nationally and internationally on alternative bearing materials and new implant designs, which provide fast and valuable information on the performance of newly developed implants and helps compare them to historical standards. These studies also can provide feedback on surgical techniques and skills to improve clinical outcomes.
Biomedical Engineers and Technicians
Current Research Fellows
Information Technology Team
Visiting Orthopaedic Surgeon
Our research projects are mainly in:
The Harris Laboratory commonly provides 2-3 year training pre-doctoral or pre-medical positions for recent undergraduates with science and engineering backgrounds. There are available positions at the pre-graduate and post-graduate level (doctoral student, post-doctoral fellow, medical student, clinical research fellow, and visiting scientist). The funded specific positions can be found at the Massachusetts General Hospital employment website here.
Marking the 10 year anniversary of the first clinical use of highly cross-linked polyethylene
Our most research is listed below. See our PDF for a complete listing.