Foot and Ankle Research and Innovation Lab

Foot and Ankle Research and Innovation Lab (FARIL)

FARIL is a state-of-the-art lab committed to the understanding of foot and ankle health while creating novel approaches to the foot and ankle education, technology and innovation. At its core, FARIL is dedicated to the patient and ensuring that they are receiving the best care. We do this by generating new approaches to foot and ankle problems with both laboratory research and clinical treatment.

Overview

The Mass General Foot and Ankle Research and Innovation Lab (FARIL) is a groundbreaking initiative by the MGH foot and ankle service focused on pioneering breakthroughs in foot and ankle research and innovation that will directly impact the care of the foot and ankle patients. Lead by Dr. Christopher W. DiGiovanni, researchers are considering the biggest issues facing foot and ankle care today. Specifically, our research addresses how to diagnose and treat complex foot injuries such as fifth metatarsal fracture, syndesmotic instability and Lisfranc injuries.

Perhaps the most important quality of FARIL is its ability to integrate all aspects of Foot and Ankle care by incorporating every facet of research. From top institutions in the US to internationally recognized academia, FARIL researchers bring their diverse training and experience to create new tests and treatments. FARIL also brings together organizations (MGH research institute, AOFAS) and industry leaders to implement new technology used to treat foot and ankle injuries. With patient care at its center, FARIL brings every component of foot and ankle research to one cutting-edge location.

Right now, researchers are pioneering new ultrasound techniques to create a dynamic picture of the ankle. This will allow physicians to accurately diagnose ankle injuries that would have previously been difficult or even impossible to recognize without surgery. The lab is also developing new treatment methods for common foot and ankle problems. New arthroplasty techniques and equipment are being established to improve and perfect total ankle replacement. Biomechanic studies are being undertaken to improve surgical techniques and reduce recovery time. These are just some of the ways FARIL leads the way in foot and ankle research.

Team

Foot and Ankle Service

Podiatry Service

Research Department

  • Lab Director: Bart Lubberts, MD, PhD
  • Lead Researcher: Noortje Hagemeijer, MD, PhD Candidate (Netherlands)
  • Research Coordinator: Brian Fenn

Current Research Fellows

  • Song Ho Chang, MD, PhD (Japan)
  • Hong Joon Choi, MD (Republic of Korea)
  • Peter Kvarda, MD (Hungary)
  • Ying Liu, MD (China)
  • Jirawat Saengsin, MD (Thailand)
  • Go Sato, MD (Japan)
  • Li Yu, MD (China)
  • Elaheh Ziaei Ziabari (Iran)

Current Students

  • Jack Casey (USA)
  • Matthew D’Antuono (USA)
  • Jan de Bruijn (Netherlands)
  • Escar Kusema (USA)

Past Research Fellows

  • Jafet Massri, MD (Chile)
  • Matteo Buda, MD (Italy)
  • Mohamed Abdelaziz, MD (Egypt)

Past Students

  • Sophia Anderson (USA)
  • Sofie Breuking (Netherlands)
  • Mary Kate Coogan (USA)
  • Pim Van Dijk (Netherlands)
  • Ariella Goldberg (USA)
  • Reinout Heijboer (Netherlands)
  • Dan Lemmers (Netherlands)
  • Thomas Mobley (USA)
  • Robert Prince (Netherlands)
  • Lodewijik Res (Netherlands)
  • Kelsy Romatoski (USA)
  • Shivish Shah (USA)
  • Xaverius Stavenuiter (Netherlands)
  • Charlotte Wahle (USA)
  • Kathryn Whitelaw (USA)
  • Nicola Young (USA)

Research

Current Research fields:

  1. Foot and Ankle biomechanics and kinematics
  2. Diagnostic Imaging
  3. Outcomes and Translational research
  4. Surgical techniques (open and arthroscopic)
  5. Joint preservation and salvage
  6. Ortho-biologics
  7. Other cutting edge technologies such as 3D printing and additive manufacturing

Publications

Select Publications:

Lisfranc

  • McHale KJ, Vopat BG, Beaulieu-Jones BR, Sanchez G, Whalen JM, McDonald LS, DiGiovanni CW, Theodore GH, Provencher MT. Epidemiology and Outcomes of Lisfranc Injuries Identified at the National Football League Scouting Combine. Am J Sports Med. 2017; 45(8):1901-1908.
  • Kriz P, Rafferty J, Evangelista P, Van Valkenburg S, DiGiovanni C. Stress fracture of the second metatarsal and sprain of the lisfranc joint in a pre-professional ballet dancer. J Dance Med Sci. 2015; 19(2):80-85.

Syndesmosis

  • Lubberts B, Guss D, Vopat BG, Johnson AH, van Dijk CN, Lee H., DiGiovanni CW. Quantification of Stable and Unstable Injuries of the Ankle Syndesmosis using Arthroscopic Measurements. KSSTA (In print)
  • Massri-Pugin J, Lubberts B, Vopat BG, Wolf JC, DiGiovanni CW, Guss D. Role of the Deltoid Ligament in Syndesmotic Instability. Foot Ankle Int. 2018 May;39(5):598-603.
  • Massri-Pugin J, Lubberts B, Vopat BG, Guss D, Hosseini A, DiGiovanni CW. Effect of Sequential Sectioning of Ligaments on Syndesmotic Instability in the Coronal Plane Evaluated Arthroscopically. Foot Ankle Int. 2017 Dec;38(12):1387-1393.
  • Vopat ML, Vopat BG, Lubberts B, DiGiovanni CW. Current trends in the diagnosis and management of syndesmotic injury. Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med. 2017 Mar;10(1):94-103.
  • Lubberts B, Bengtsson H, D’Hooghe P, DiGiovanni CW, Calder J, Ekstrand J: Epidemiology and return to play following isolated syndesmotic injuries of the ankle: a prospective cohort study of 3677 male professional footballers in the UEFA Elite Club Injury Study. Accepted, Br J Sports Med, Oct 2017.
  • Massri J, Lubberts B, Vopat B, Guss D, Hosseini A, DiGiovanni CW: Arthroscopic syndesmotic instability in the coronal plane: what must be injured and where we must look to diagnose it properly? Accepted, Foot Ankle Int, July 2017.
  • Lubberts B, Guss D, Vopat BG, Wolf JC, Moon DK, DiGiovanni CW. The effect of ankle distraction on arthroscopic evaluation of syndesmotic instability: A cadaveric study. Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2017 Sep 28;50:16-20. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2017.09.013.
  • Lubberts B, Vopat BG, Wolf JC, Longo UG, DiGiovanni CW, Guss D. Arthroscopically measured syndesmotic stability after screw vs. suture button fixation in a cadaveric model. Injury. 2017 Aug 31. pii: S0020-1383(17)30585-5. doi: 10.1016/j.injury.2017.08.066.
  • Vopat B, Beaulieu-Jones BR, Waryasz G, McHale KJ, Sanchez G, Logan CA, Whalen JM, DiGiovanni CW, Provencher MT. Epidemiology of Navicular Injury at the NFL Combine and Their Impact on an Athlete's Prospective NFL Career. Orthop J Sports Med. 2017 Aug 18;5(8):2325967117723285. doi: 10.1177/2325967117723285.
  • Lubberts B, van Dijk PAD, Calder J, DiGiovanni CW. There is no best surgical treatment for chronic isolated syndesmotic instability: a systematic review. Accepted, J ISAKOS, 2016 epub.

Peroneal Injuries

  • Res LCS, Dixon T, Lubberts B, Vicentini JRT, van Dijk PA, Hosseini A, Guss D, DiGiovanni CW. Peroneal Tendon Tears: We Should Consider Looking at the Muscle Instead. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2018 Aug 22.
  • Van Dijk PAD, Lubberts B, Verheul C, DiGiovanni CW, Kerkhoffs GMMJ. Rehabilitation after surgical treatment of peroneal tendon tears and ruptures. Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy. 2016;24:1165-1174. doi:10.1007/s00167-015-3944-6.
  • DiGiovanni CW, Langer P. The Role of Isolated Gastrocnemius and Combined Achilles Contractures in the Flatfoot. Foot and Ankle Clinics. Volume 12, Issue 2,2007.Pages 363-379,ISSN 1083-7515.
  • Kennedy G, van Dijk PAD, Murawski CD, Duke G, Newman H, DiGiovanni CW, Yasui Y. Functional outcomes after peroneal tendoscopy in treatment of peroneal tendon disorders. ESSKA. 2016 Jan 19. DOI 10.1007/s00167-016-4012-6.

Fusion & Arthroplasty

  • Younger ASE, Baumhauer JF, Daniels T, Krause F, Glazebrook M, Evangelista P, Donahue R, Pinzur M, Thevendran G, DiGiovanni CW. Clinical outcome of nonunions in hindfoot and ankle fusions. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2016.
  • DiGiovanni CW, Lin SS, Daniels TR, Glazebrook M, Evangelista P, Donahue R, Beasley W, Baumhauer JF. The importance of sufficient graft material in achieving foot or ankle fusion. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2016; 98(15): 1260-7.
  • Daniels TR, Younger AS, Penner MJ, Wing KJ, Le IL, Russell IS, Lalonde KA, Evangelista PT, Quilton JD, Glazebrook M, DiGiovanni CW. Prospective randomized controlled trial of hindfoot and ankle fusions treated with rhPDGF-BB in combination with a beta-TCP-collagen matrix. Foot Ankle Int. 2015; 36(7):739-48.
  • Macaulay AA, Vanvalkenburg SM, DiGiovanni CW. Sport and activity restrictions following total ankle replacement: a survey of orthopaedic foot and ankle specialists. Foot Ankle Surg. 2015; 21(4):260-265.

Sports Injury

  • Kaiser P, Guss D, DiGiovanni CW: Stress fractures of the foot and ankle in sports. Accepted, Foot Ankle Int, Oct 2017.
  • Drakos MC, Fiore R, Murphy C, DiGiovanni CW. Plantar plate disruptions: “The severe turf toe injury.” Three cases in contact athletes. J Athl Train. 2015; 50(5):553-560.
  • Vopat B, Beaulieu-Jones BR, Waryasz G, et al. Epidemiology of Navicular Injury at the NFL Combine and Their Impact on an Athlete’s Prospective NFL Career. Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine. 2017;5(8):2325967117723285. doi:10.1177/2325967117723285.

Technique

  • Chien B, Dixon T, Guss D, DiGiovanni CW: VTED Prophylaxis in Foot and Ankle Surgery. Accepted, Orthop Clin NA, Aug 2017.
  • Waryasz G, Van Valkenburg S, DiGiovanni CW. Technique tip: use of incisional negative pressure wound therapy after complex foot and ankle reconstruction. Tech Foot Ankle Surg. 2015;14(2):104-110.

Venous Thromboembolism

  • Heijboer RRO, Lubberts B, van Dijk PAD, Vopat BG, Johnson AH, Guss D, DiGiovanni CW. The Validity of Using ICD-9-CM Codes for Identifying Venous Thromboembolism Following Below Knee Surgery. The Orthopaedic Journal at Harvard Medical School 2016;17:18-23.
  • Heijboer RRO, Lubberts B, Guss D, Johnson AH, DiGiovanni CW. Incidence and Risk Factors Associated with Venous Thromboembolism After Orthopaedic Below-knee Surgery. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2018 Oct 4.
  • Prince RM 3rd, Lubberts B, Buda M, Guss D, DiGiovanni CW. Symptomatic Venous Thromboembolism after Non-Operatively Treated Foot or Ankle Injury. J Orthop Res. 2018 Oct 1.

Research Positions

Long-term positions are available for those pursuing a PhD or the equivalent at their respective institution. These positions generally last 2 to 3 years, and it is expected that candidates will independently manage multiple research projects and assist leading the lab.

If interested in any positions, please contact Bart Lubberts at blubberts@partners.org.


Material/Biomedical Engineer

The Foot and Ankle Research and Innovation Lab is pursuing cutting edge technology that will change future foot and ankle care. We are seeking a highly motivated individual who is willing to work with medical professionals on developing a surgical device. This position is ideal for a graduate engineering student who would like to gain experience before continuing their education. We would prefer someone who is a natural problem solver who is able to work with a diverse team. A strong candidate will be able to work with abstract ideas and make them into concrete realities.

Responsibilities:
Specific Functions:

  • Design and construct prototypes of surgical devices/equipment
  • Make recommendations on best materials and specifications for such devices
  • Understand/implement any testing necessary to assess quality and efficacy
  • Assisting in the performance of pre-clinical tests to analyze safety, mechanical and fatigue and wear

General laboratory functions:

  • Maintain laboratory equipment and space
  • Creating and maintaining protocols and other necessary records
  • Ordering supplies and keeping track of inventory
  • Working alongside MDs, MD students, PhD students and post-doctoral fellows
  • Generating and compiling experimental information/results in graphs, charts, and reports
  • Preparing written and/or verbal reports for supervisor and/or senior research personnel
  • Collaborating with supervisor in developing research methodologies and research objectives
  • Collaborating with supervisor in writing and editing material for publication; opportunity for authorship in publications

Qualifications:

  • Must have BS in engineering or similar field
  • Preferred minimum GPA of 3.25
  • Must have relevant experience in the field
  • Must have excellent communication skills and be proficient in English
  • Previous laboratory and/or internship experience with material engineering is preferred
  • Must be independent problem solver

If interested, please contact Bart Lubberts at blubberts@partners.org.


Biostatistician/Computational Biologist

The Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School Foot and Ankle Research and Innovation Lab is looking for a computational biologist/data scientist to work with clinicians in pioneering new techniques and tools for clinical application. Successful candidates will use their programming skills on imaging and pathology data sets to develop algorithms for diagnosing musculoskeletal disease. Much of the work will be done with clinicians from around the world and therefore sufficient proficiency of the English language is required. Successful candidates get the opportunity to become first author on publications as well as obtaining a leadership position in the laboratory. This is not a paid position. However, if the candidate is successful, it is expected to receive sufficient amount of funds that can be used to provide salary. This is a unique opportunity to apply your programming skills for something that has a direct impact and can help improve patient care.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor, Master’s, or Ph.D. degree student in a computational field.
  • Experience or interest in healthcare.
  • A solid understanding of statistics and expertise in widely used programming languages (Python or C++)
  • Excellent proficiency of the English language
  • Candidate must be able to build predictive models and algorithms
  • Experience with translating radiographic images into prediction models is preferred
  • Having a creative and thinks out-side-the-box mindset

How to apply:
If you are interested in this position, please complete this form and submit supporting documents:

  • Resume or CV
  • A letter of recommendation (Academic or Professional). Letter writers may submit their letter online

Philanthropy

If you are interested in supporting the Foot and Ankle Research and Innovation Lab, visit the Orthopaedic Surgery Philanthropy page. In the designation, please be sure to put the Foot and Ankle Research and innovation lab. Thank you for your support!

Contact

Contact Us

Foot and Ankle Research and Innovation Lab

Foot & Ankle Center

Building 52, Suite 115040 Second Avenue Waltham, MA 02451
  • Phone: 617-724-9338
  • Fax: 781-487-4003

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