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Research at Mass General
The Harris Orthopaedics 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, were developed for large scale usage in implant manufacturing in this laboratory and have since 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 and trauma. We 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.
As a full-service Academic Contract Research Organization (ACRO), the Harris Orthopaedics Laboratory provides comprehensive clinical research services, drawing upon the clinical trial expertise of its Harvard Medical School affiliated academic faculty and Massachusetts General Hospital affiliated professional staff.
Harris Orthopaedics Laboratory is a full-service Academic Contract Research Organization (ACRO), that draws upon the clinical trial expertise of its Harvard Medical School affiliated academic faculty and Massachusetts General Hospital affiliated professional staff to provide comprehensive clinical research and pre- and post-market surveillance services.
Harris Orthopaedics Laboratory is associated with a number of Joint Registries in the US, Australia, UK and the Nordic countries. This enables us to limit duplicate data entry, offer improved study site management and communication, and follow patient outcomes long-term via the registries. We also collaborate with AdvaMed and Eucomed to develop global guidelines for post-market surveillance and reporting. Nested studies, which are studies organized within countries or regions with well-established joint registries, can provide the detailed clinical outcome results needed for early benchmarking of new technologies. They can also provide the basis for registry-based post-market surveillance needed for longer-term reporting. The strong academic focus of the ACRO offers opportunities for peer-reviewed scientific publications, and it can generate and provide the detailed results needed for reporting to notified bodies around the world.
The ACRO helps sponsor MD/PhD students with an interest in registry science in a visiting Fellowship program designed to develop the students skills in clinical outcomes research and the analysis of large data sets obtained through collaboration with national and regional arthroplasty registries. The fellowships range from six months to one year. During their time in Boston, the students take advantage of the training courses offered by Mass General and Harvard University, such as those related to ethics, statistical analysis, proper conduct of human research and leadership development. Educational opportunities include: travel to national and international conferences such as the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and the International Society of Arthroplasty Registries; interaction with leaders in the field of arthroplasty registries; visits to national registry sites and interaction with various registry leaders; participation in data mining and data analysis; abstract and manuscript preparation.
This program is well suited for clinician scientists interested in making the conduct of clinical outcomes studies and registry interaction a part of their career and for those who reside in countries with established or developing national and regional registries. Past participants: Denmark: Karl Tobias Haak MD, PhD; Henrik Palm MD, PhD; Anders Troelsen MD, PhD, Kirill Gromov MD, PhD; Nanna H. Sillesen MD, PhD; Christian Skovgaard Nielsen MD, PhD · Sweden: Ola Rolfson MD, PhD; Viktor Lindgren MD, PhD · Finland: Rami Madanat MD, PhD.
Academic CRO Publications
Harris Orthopaedic Investigators are authors of more than 75 patents worldwide. Click the links to find more detailed information.
Our research projects are mainly in:
The Harris Orthopaedics Laboratory (HOL) offers comprehensive support for developing orthopaedic implants. We engage in partnerships and provide services in the areas of design, concept development, characterization and post-market surveillance.
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HOL tests and analyzes medical devices for use in total joint replacement, spine, fracture repair and osteoarthritis. Studies are tailored according to the need, for example, data generation for peer-reviewed publications, FDA regulatory submission, or blinded testing.
HOL conducts in vitro and animal testing based on ISO 10993 guidelines. Our facilities comply with the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) National Institutes of Health standards. Protocols are submitted and reviewed by Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUCs) to ensure compliance with federal regulations.
HOL’s cadaver lab is available for use to test devices in both early and late stages of development.
See available tests and resources
We have extensive experience conducting structural mechanics simulations to evaluate the mechanical strength of implants, bone-implant interface strength, bone remodeling stimulus etc.
We have extensive expertise in conducting dynamic musculoskeletal simulations to evaluate the effect of implant components on joint kinematics/kinetics, and the interactions between implants and the surrounding soft-tissues.
HOL has a wide array of equipment that provides the broad range of mechanical and chemical characterizations required by the FDA for 510(k) device clearance. This includes:
HOL can leverage its wide array of testing equipment and extensive expertise to investigate the latest concerns in orthopaedic materials:
The HOL has the equipment needed to blend raw materials into custom formulations of polyethylene (PE) in small to medium batches for testing.
HOL has access to local facilities to conduct additional analyses as needed, including: SEM (including EDX), TEM, AFM, NMR, XPS, μCT.
The pioneering efforts of Harris Orthopaedics Laboratory (HOL) began in 1969. Since that time, the HOL has positively impacted the quality of life for millions of patients through its commitment to continuous innovation and evidence-based medicine.
The Harris Orthopaedics Laboratory has generated more than 600 combined publications since its inception in 1969. Many publications have garnered multiple distinctions, including:
To date, the Harris Orthopaedics Laboratory has been granted:
2018: American Orthopaedic Association's Distinguished Contributions to Orthopaedics Award
2017: Orthopaedic Research & Education Foundation (OREF) Clinical Research Award "Arthroplasty Implant Registries Over the Past Five Decades: Development, Current and Future Impact"
2015: EFORT - The Mike Freeman honorary lecture
2014: International Society for Tech. in Arthroplasty 2014 Annual Meeting (ISTA) - 3rd Place E-Poster Award
2013: 23rd Turkish National Congress of Orthopaedics - Best Podium Presentation "Determination of osteolytic response to vitamin E-diffused UHMWPE wear particles using micro-CT in a murine model"
2012: International Hip Society's Lifetime Achievement Award
2012: Hip Society's John Charnley Award "Clinical Multi-Centric Studies of Highly Cross-linked Re-melted Polyethylene in THR"
2011: HAP Paul Award given by the International Society for Tech. in Arthroplasty "Novel Active Stabilization Technology in Highly Cross-linked UHMWPEs for Superior Stability"
2011: Claflin Distinguished Scholar (given to outstanding women scientists) "Porous-backed polyethylene with improved fatigue strength as an alternative to catastrophically failed metal-on-metal joint implants"
2011: International Tribology Award "A Multi-center Study of the Mid-term Wear Results of Highly Cross-linked Polyethylene THR Components"
2010: Partners in Excellence Award of Partners Health Care System
2010: American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons - 2nd Place Best Poster "A multi-center Study of Mid-term Results of Highly Cross-linked Polyethylene THR Components"
2010: Hip Society's John Charnley Award "Cup Positioning at a Tertiary Hospital: Risk Factors for Malpositioning"
2009: Association of Bone & Joint Surgeons - Marshall R. Urist Young Investigator Award
2008: The Hip Society's Lifetime Achievement Award
2006: Orthopaedic Associates of Hartford, CT - Pasternak Lecture
2006: HAP Paul Award given by the International Society for Tech. in Arthroplasty
2006: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons - 1st Place Overall Scientific Poster Award
2005: Robert E. Fairer Award - ASTM Committee F04 on Medical and Surgical Materials and Devices
2004: The Hip Society's Otto Aufranc Award
2003: Hip Society's John Charnley Award "Society Efficacy of BMP-2 to Induce Bone Ingrowth in Gap and Non-Gap Regions of a Total Hip Replacement Model"
2002: International Society of Orthopaedics & Traumatology/ International Research Society of Orthopaedic Surgery & Traumatology (SICOT/SIROT) - XXII World Congress - Best Poster
2001: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) - Marshall R. Urist Young Investigator Award
2000: Partners in Excellence Award of Partners Health Care System
1999: The Maurice Muller Award for Life-term Achievements in Orthopaedic Surgery
1999: HAP Paul Award given by the International Society for Tech. in Arthroplasty (given for research that outlines new developments in the field of Arthroplasty) "A Novel method of cross-linking ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene to improve wear, reduce oxidation, and retain mechanical properties"
1997: European Orthopaedic Research Society - Best Poster
1996: The Hip Society's Otto Aufranc Award "The Skeletal Response to Well-Fixed Cemented and Cementless Component"
1992: Hip Society's John Charnley Award
1991: Hip Society's John Charnley Award "The Mechanism of Loosening of Cemented Acetabular Components in Total Hip Arthroplasty: Analysis of Specimens Retrieved at Autopsy"
1989: The Hip Society's Frank Stinchfield Award "Studies of Femurs Retrieved From Patients who had Undergone Cemented Total Hip Replacement Up to 17 Years Earlier"
1986: The Otto Aufranc Award of The Hip Society
1977: The Hip Society's Frank Stinchfield Award
1976: Kappa Delta Award for Outstanding Orthopaedic Research
1975: The Hip Society's Frank Stinchfield Award
1975: Hip Society's John Charnley Award
1970: Kappa Delta Award for Outstanding Orthopaedic Research
Hip Society's John Charnley Award: Given for innovative research, either clinical or basic, which focuses on important advances in the management of hip disorders.
HAP Paul Award given by the International Society for Tech. in Arthroplasty: Given for research that outlines new developments in the field of Arthroplasty.
The Hip Society's Otto Aufranc Award: Given for innovative research, either clinical or basic, encompassing important advances in the management of hip disorders
The Hip Society's Frank Stinchfield Award: Given for given to a resident or fellow in training who submits an outstanding contribution concerning hip problems
The Harris Orthopedic Laboratory (HOL) at MGH specializes in translational research for orthopedic biomaterials and implants. HOL is looking to train MD/PhD and PhD students in polymeric material development and translational research in orthopaedics. The laboratory is a focal point in the orthopedic research community for development of new materials, designs and clinically relevant testing methodology for total joint replacements, which are implanted in over 1 million patients in the US alone each year. This is a great opportunity for science and engineering students looking for hands-on experience in biomedical applications.
We are interested in a variety of topics pertaining to orthopaedics such as improving the performance of materials, designs and developing methodologies to help bridge the gap between in vitro testing and in vivo performance of implantable devices. We are interested in treating orthopaedic conditions such as post-traumatic arthritis, peri-prosthetic osteolysis, peri-prosthetic and post-traumatic infection, and pain management.
We are open to collaborations where graduate students already enrolled in a PhD program in science or engineering with the pertinent experience can incorporate 1-2 years of laboratory training at the HOL into their thesis work.
Contact Person: Ebru Oral, PhD (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Technology Implementation Research Center (TIRC) has an immediate opening for a postdoctoral research fellow to lead research and development projects relating to novel joint replacement implants, biomaterials and associated technologies. These projects aim to address important challenges associated with contemporary joint replacement procedures including generation of metallic corrosion debris, stress shielding, and diagnosis of aseptic loosening. The TIRC offers the opportunity to be at the forefront of translational research, and to work with a close-knit team of highly experienced scientists, engineers and clinicians.
The post-doctoral fellow will be responsible for designing test setups, executing in vitro experiments including cadaver studies, conducting finite element analysis, writing IRB protocols, and preparing project reports/scientific manuscripts. The postdoctoral fellow may also assist in preparations of grants, and training of other research staff. A creative mindset, strong team oriented work ethic, and willingness to develop new skills are a must.
Interested applicants should email a copy of their CV to Dr. Kartik Varadarajan (email@example.com)
The Harris Orthopedic Laboratory (HOL) at MGH specializes in translational research for orthopedic biomaterials and implants. HOL is looking to hire a fulltime post-doctoral research fellow for a 2-year appointment. The laboratory is a focal point in the orthopedic research community for development of new materials and test methods for total joint replacements, which are implanted in over 1 million patients in the US alone each year. This is a great opportunity for scientists looking to apply their basic knowledge in translational research.
Peri-prosthetic osteolysis (resorption of bone around implants causing loosening), a major problem compromising the longevity of joint implants, was drastically reduced over the last decade due to radiation cross-linking of ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) bearings. Our lab has pioneered work in the radiation cross-linking of UHMWPE as well as the incorporation of antioxidants for oxidative stabilization. A major unaddressed problem in joint replacement and in orthopaedic implants in general is implant-associated infections. We are specifically interested in developing technologies that prevent and treat infection in a multi-modal manner using implant materials and implantation algorithms. The post-doctoral fellow will be responsible for (i) formulating methods of triggered release of antimicrobial agents; and (ii) evaluating efficacy and safety of formulations in vitro and in pre-clinical animal models.
We are interested in interviewing candidates with a strong polymer science and materials science background. Experience with general polymer characterization methods, and familiarity with bacterial cultures is preferred.
Degree Requirements: Ph.D. in Materials Science, Polymer Science, Chemical Engineering, Polymer Chemistry, or equivalent experience with polymers is required.
Contact Person: Ebru Oral, Ph.D.
Cross-linked ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) is the bearing material of choice in joint replacement implants worldwide due to its high wear resistance. Our lab has pioneered the work in radiation and peroxide cross-linking of UHMWPE as well as the incorporation of antioxidants for oxidative stabilization. One of our long-term goals is improving the fatigue crack initiation resistance, toughness, and strength of cross-linked UHMWPEs to enable more patient-friendly designs and to increase the lifetime and function of implants. High temperature melting (HTM) of crosslinked UHMWPE is one method that improves the ultimate tensile strength and toughness through controlled degradation of the polymeric network and increased diffusion of chains through grain boundaries. We are specifically interested in investigating further this toughening mechanism for chemically cross-linked polyethylene bearing surfaces with HTM. The postdoctoral fellow will be responsible for leading our efforts in (i) understanding the changes in the molecular structure, (ii) crystalline morphology, (iii) macrostructure of the polymer under various cross-linking conditions. The HOL is equipped with all of the necessary processing and analytical tools to carry out this project. In addition, HOL has access to the shared facilities of Harvard University and MIT.
We are interested in interviewing candidates with strong polymer science and materials science background. Experience with general polymer characterization methods, and familiarity with polymer processing is preferred.
Harris Orthopaedics Laboratory is focused on the development of polymeric and hybrid materials in orthopaedics. We are seeking a highly motivated individual for an entry-level research position to support our translational research program in implantable biomaterial development. This position is ideal for new engineering graduates interested in the medical application of basic research, and is a great opportunity for those who want to gain some experience before continuing their education in graduate or medical school.
Responsibilities Specific technical functions:
General laboratory functions:
How To Apply: Send resume, cover letter and transcript to firstname.lastname@example.org
There are no available openings at this time.
Harris Orthopaedics Lab
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