UCLA Regenerative Musculoskeletal Medicine Training Program

The UCLA faculty for this training program are listed below along with their respective areas of research concentration and intellectual excellence. Trainees working with these faculty are not limited to these thematic groups nor are trainees limited to these faculty. The training program is dynamic and benefits from the incorporation of additional members, thus, potential faculty are urged to contact one of the Training Program Directors, John S. Adams, Nicholas M. Bernthal or Karen M. Lyons, for more information.

Program Training Faculty and Basic, Translational and/or Clinical Mentors. Listed below are the extramurally-supported, experienced basic (B), translational (T) and clinician scientist (C) training faculty. The academic orthopaedic surgeons (O) who provide real life perspective are also presented.  Note that these designations are not mutually exclusive.  

Denise R. Aberle, MD

Denise R. Aberle, MD

(T,C) is an emeritus faculty member. Her expertise is in use of i) semantic and quantitative image features for cancer diagnosis, ii) machine learning for cancer characterization, and iii) associations between clinical, imaging and molecular phenotypes in cancer characterization.  Available as a co-Mentor.

John S. Adams, MD

John S. Adams, MD

(B,T,C) is an emeritus faculty member in Orthopaedic Surgery. He has expertise in Basic & Translational Aspects of Vitamin D Synthesis, Metabolism & Molecular Mode of Action in the Skeleton & Extraskeletal Tissues. Available as a co-Mentor.

Nicholas M. Bernthal, MD

Nicholas M. Bernthal, MD

(B,T,C,O) is a Professor in Orthopaedic Surgery, representing both the funded clinician scientist and the academic orthopaedic surgeon. He is interested in the interplay between bacteria, host, and implant in the bone microenvironment.

Fabrizio Billi, PhD

Fabrizio Billi, PhD

(B,T) is Associate Professor in the Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and Bioengineering. He has expertise in materials and medical devices for orthopaedic applications. He is newly appointed to the NIH-funded basic/translational training faculty of the T32 due to his expertise in engineering, a new thrust for our T32. He has a long track record in translational orthopaedic research performed collaboratively with orthopaedic surgeons and engineers. 

Alex Bui

Alex Bui, PhD

(T) is Professor of Radiological Sciences, Bioengineering, and Bioinformatics at UCLA and director of the informatics program in the UCLA CTSI; Dr. Bui’s research includes methodology and applications of data science to biomedical research in areas related to distributed information architectures. Trainees will be exposed to development of probabilistic modeling methods in “big data” sets and techniques in data visualization and for accelerating algorithms used in healthcare. 

Stephen C. Cannon

Stephen C. Cannon, MD, PhD

(B,T) is Professor and Chair of Physiology in the DGSOM at UCLA. He is new to the T32. His research focuses on muscle dysfunction caused by inherited channelopathies. Trainees can engage in state of the art electrophysiological and pharmacological approaches, novel computational models of muscle excitability, and genetically engineered mice to test pre-clinical therapeutic strategies.

Daniel Cohn, PhD

Daniel Cohn, PhD

(B,T) is Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Human Genetics, Pediatrics and Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology at UCLA. Dr. Cohn is the Co-Director of the International Skeletal Dysplasia Registry, the largest referral source in the world for diagnosis and research on human skeletal disorders. Trainees will gain molecular expertise in studying inherited skeletal disorders, especially those affecting children. 

Rachelle Crosbie

Rachelle Crosbie-Watson, PhD

(B,T) is Professor and Chair of Integrative Biology and Physiology and Neurology at UCLA. As the Director of the Muscle Cell Biology, Pathology, and Therapeutics T32 at UCLA, Dr. Crosbie is a crucial contributor to the bone: muscle interface for our T32 in Regenerative Musculoskeletal Medicine. Trainees working with Dr. Crosbie will learn to interrogate molecular mechanisms of extracellular matrix ligands and receptors in normal and dystrophic muscle. 

Sarah M. Dry, MD

Sarah M. Dry, MD

(T,C) is Chair of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Director of Anatomic and Surgical Pathology. Dr. Dry is new to the T32 due to her expertise in outcomes research and in building biorepositories, molecular imaging and translational pathology shared resources. Her wet lab activities focus on osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ). Trainees in the Dry lab can participate in projects on the pathology and therapies for ONJ.

Noah C. Federman, MD

Noah C. Federman, MD

(T,C) is Professor of Pediatrics and Orthopaedic Surgery. He specializes in the diagnosis and care of children with sarcoma. He is also the director of the UCLA CTSA Clinical and Translational Research Center and the CIRM-supported Alpha Clinic that brings stem cell and gene therapy to the first-in-man stage. Trainees will participate in Phase 1 clinical trials using these novel therapeutic tools. 

Sharon L. Hame, MD

Sharon L. Hame, MD

(O) is Professor and Director of Medical Student Education in Orthopaedic Surgery. Dr. Hame is new to the T32, owing to her expertise in health services research. She is a representative of the group of academic orthopaedic surgeons in our “T32 mentorship bubble”. Her research focus is population-based work investigating injury risk and prevention in college athletes. She has organized and directed several multi-institutional investigations. 

Kristofer J. Jones, MD

Kristofer J. Jones, MD

(C,O) is Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at UCLA. He is a new addition to the T32, serving as a clinical trialist and academic orthopaedic surgeon in our “T32 mentoring bubble”. Dr. Jones is focused on regeneration of cartilage after traumatic injury. Trainees working with Dr. Jones can participate in biomechanics projects around osteochondral grafts and biologic assessment of graft material. 

Avatar

Paul Krebsbach, DDS, PhD

(T,C) is the recently appointed Dean of the UCLA School of Dentistry and new to our T32. His current work is aimed at understanding lineage development and self-renewal mechanisms in human embryonic stem cells and how these properties can be exploited to regenerate orofacial tissues including bone. Trainees can investigate epigenetic regulation of mesenchymal stem cell differentiation and bone aging as well as the role of mTOR action in human cancer.

Thomas J. Kremen, MD

Thomas J. Kremen, MD

(B,T,C) was recruited to DGSOM in 2018 as Assistant Professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. He is a new addition to the T32, currently in the third year of his VA Career Development Award and fits with the new “T32 mentorship bubble” as an academic orthopaedic surgeon. Trainees working with Dr. Kremen focus on regeneration of tendons and ligaments, using a progenitor cell:biomimetic scaffold therapeutic intervention to decrease post-traumatic osteoarthritis. 

Justine C. Lee, MD, PhD

Justine C. Lee, MD, PhD

(B,T,C) is Associate Professor of Surgery in the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in the DGSOM and new to the T32. Her clinical practice inspires her active basic research program, which focuses on development and application of nanoparticulate mineralized collagen glycosaminoglycan (MC-GAG) materials for calvarial reconstruction. Trainees can participate in a true bench to bedside research program to enhance bone regeneration. 

Avatar

Min Lee, PhD

(B,T) is Professor in the UCLA School of Dentistry. Dr Lee develops novel biomaterials for the repair of craniofacial and orthopedic skeletal defects. Dr. Lee is new to the training faulty, boosting our strength in bioengineering. He has developed injectable tunable hydrogels and nanocarriers for cartilage and bone repair. Trainees can receive broad training in biomaterial science and its use in the restoration of cartilage and bone defects.

Avatar

Song Li, PhD

(B,T) is Professor and Chair, Department of Bioengineering at UCLA. He is new to the grant and represents the major tie between the Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and School of Engineering. Trainees in his lab will be focused on cell engineering, biomaterials and tissue engineering specializing in biomimetic materials in micro/nano structures to recapitulate in vivo the microenvironment of the extracellular matrix to promote tissue regeneration. 

Elizabeth L. Lord, MD

Elizabeth L. Lord, MD

(O) is Assistant Professor in Orthopaedic Surgery. A spine surgeon and new to the T32, she is representative of the group of academic orthopaedic surgeons in our “T32 mentorship bubble”. Dr. Lord’s research focus is on bone biology and bone healing in spinal fusion. Trainees working with Dr. Lord will receive training in small animal models to investigate the impact of cannabinoids on bone healing. 

Daniel C. Lu, MD, PhD

Daniel C. Lu, MD, PhD

(B,T,C) is a Professor in the departments of Neurosurgery and Orthopaedic Surgery.  His research is focused on strategies to sensitize the interneuronal circuitry within the spinal cord through epidural electrical stimulation and pharmacological agonist therapy.

Aldons Lusis, PhD

Aldons Lusis, PhD

(B,T) is Professor, Departments of Medicine, Human Genetics, and Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics. His lab focuses on identification and analysis of genes and networks contributing to multigenic disease. Trainees will use cutting-edge bioinformatics, genetics, and basic cell biology technologies in a “systems genetics” approach that integrates high throughput transcriptomic/proteomic data with clinical traits, in segregating mouse populations. 

Headshot of Karen Lyons PhD, team member of UCLA's department of orthopaedic surgery

Karen Lyons, PhD

(B,T) is a Professor in the departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology, representative of the group of NIH-funded basic/translational scientists. Her interest is the development of musculoskeletal tissues.

David R. McAllister, MD

David R. McAllister, MD

(O) is Professor and Vice Chair in Orthopaedic Surgery at UCLA. His research is focused on knee ligament reconstruction and biomechanics of the knee. His program has trained orthopaedic surgeon scientists for more than 20 years and provides trainees the opportunity to learn tissue engineering, biomechanics and clinical outcomes in sports medicine. He is an ideal example of the academic orthopaedic surgeon that exists in our new “T32 mentorship bubble”. 

Keith Norris

Keith C. Norris, MD, PhD

(T,C) is Professor of Medicine and new to the training grant, owing to his pioneering work in minority health services research. He is internationally recognized for his research efforts on community-partnered research and health policy with a focus on reducing health disparities and promoting community partnerships to increase participation of underrepresented minorities in clinical trials. Trainees will study the impact of racial disparities on adverse skeletal outcomes.

Jeff Miller, PhD

Jeff F. Miller, PhD

(B,T) is Professor and Chair Emeritus of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics at UCLA. He is member of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Miller currently serves as the Director of the California Nano Systems Institute (CNSI), a key research core facility for our trainees. He is new to T32 faculty. Trainees in Dr. Miller’s program will focus on evolution and adaptation of pathogens in the context of microbe-host interactions in bone. 

Stanley F. Nelson, MD

Stanley F. Nelson, MD

(B,T,C) is Professor of Human Genetics and Psychiatry. His laboratory uses genomic approaches to identify small molecules that enhance the efficiency of anti-sense oligonucleotide-based targeted exon skipping as a treatment for Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy. Trainees will gain in depth experience handling deep gene expression data, genome wide association and massively parallel sequencing to prioritize therapeutic targets for human musculoskeletal disease. 

Avatar

Ichiro Nishimura, DDS, PhD

(B,T,C) is Professor of Advanced Prosthodontics and Oral Biology and Director of the K12 and PhD programs in the UCLA School of Dentistry. His research program develops new modalities for maxillofacial tissue regeneration, with an emphasis on endosseous implants. Trainees will employee modern molecular biological approaches as well as pre-clinical and clinical approaches to understand the mechanism of implant osseointegration.

Avatar

Mateo Pellegrini, PhD

(B,T) is Professor of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology. A biophysicist, Dr. Pellegrini’s research centers on the development of novel computational approaches to analyze large scale genomic and epigenomic data. His lab was instrumental in the development of whole genome bisulfite sequencing. Trainees will focus on the development of novel tools to analyze sequencing data sets from latest generation sequencers. 

April Pyle, PhD

April Pyle, PhD

(B,T) is Professor of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, a member of the Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research and the Center for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). The Pyle lab is focused on understanding how skeletal muscle stem cells arise and generation of CRISPR correction strategies for DMD. Trainees will focus on understanding the role of intrinsic and extrinsic signals in muscle differentiation from human pluripotent stem cells. 

Mauricio Silva, MD

Mauricio Silva, MD

(O) is Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and the Medical Director of the Luskin Orthopaedic Institution for Children. His research focus is on health disparities among pediatric fracture patients. He developed and maintains one of the largest pediatric fracture databases in the country. He has run a multitude of clinical trials exploring differences between operative and non-operative management of fractures. 

Chia Soo, MD

Chia Soo, MD

(B,T,C) is Professor of Surgery and Orthopaedic Surgery and Research Director for UCLA’s Operation Mend for wounded warriors. Her work focuses on musculoskeletal tissue regeneration and orthobiologic drug and device creation. Trainees will join efforts in her research program to systematically integrate osteoinductive factors and stem cells into osteconductive scaffolds. 

Nelson F. SooHoo, MD

Nelson F. SooHoo, MD

(O) is Professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Dr. Soohoo is new to the T32 faculty, owing to his work on health services research in orthopaedics. He is the department’s pioneer in the use of PROMIS for patient reported outcomes. Trainees will employ machine learning tools to capture clinically important information from local, regional and national population-based datasets. He serves as a key academic orthopaedic surgeon in our “T32 mentorship bubble”.

Avatar

Alice Soragni, PhD

(B,T) is Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery. She is a cancer biologist and a new addition to the T32. Her expertise is in the pathomechanisms and treatment of sarcomas, particularly chondroma and osteosarcoma. Trainees can investigate how protein aggregation affects cancer development and progression and can participate in studies using organoid models to study sarcoma biology and perform high-throughput drug screening to individualize sarcoma therapy.

Melissa Spencer, PhD

Melissa Spencer, PhD

(B,T) Dr. Spencer is Professor of Neurology and a Director of the Neuromuscular Program at UCLA. Her research program focuses on understanding the molecular basis of the muscular dystrophies. Trainees working with Dr. Spencer will join a team science research effort that provides an incredible mentoring environment for preclinical and clinical work in muscle and human musculoskeletal disease states. 

Alexandra I. Stavrakis, MD

Alexandra I. Stavrakis, MD

(O) is an Assistant Professor at UCLA and Chief of the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Greater Los Angeles VA Hospital. As a new member of the training faculty, she is an academic orthopaedic surgeon in our “T32 mentorship bubble”. Her research focuses on periprosthetic joint infection. Trainees working with Dr. Stavrakis will gain insight into orthopaedic immunology and become facile in small animal modeling of orthopaedic disease.  

Avatar

Sotirios Tetradis, DDS, PhD

(B,T,C) is Professor and Senior Associate Dean in the UCLA School of Dentistry. He is an example of the NIH-funded dental surgeon scientists in our “T32 mentorship bubble”. Dr. Tetradis works in the realm of mineralized tissue biology using of a small animal model for bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of the jaw. Trainees will have an opportunity to use this model in translational studies aimed at prevention and treatment of this disease. 

Rachel M. Thompson, MD

Rachel M. Thompson, MD

(T,O) is Associate Professor and Residency Program Director in Orthopaedic Surgery at UCLA. She is new to the T32 and a prime example of the academic pediatric orthopaedic surgeon included in our new “T32 mentorship bubble” design. Trainees in her program will focus on neuro-diagnostics, muscle pathology, and gait analysis, especially in the realm of cerebral palsy. 

Avatar

James G. Tidball, PhD

(B,T) is Distinguished Professor of Integrative Biology and Physiology at UCLA, and representative of the elite group of NIH-funded basic/translational scientists in our “T32 mentorship bubble”. Trainees in the Tidball lab will study the mechanistic role inflammatory cells play in muscle injury and how to manipulate interactions between skeletal muscle and the immune system to enhance muscle regeneration. 

Avatar

Yin Tintut, PhD

(B,T) is Professor of Medicine in the division of cardiology in the DGSOM at UCLA. Her research focuses on changes in microarchitecture of aortic mineral deposits that increases plaque stability. Her findings show that PTH changes in microarchitecture of aortic mineral deposits preventing myocardial infarction. Trainees will participate in transgenic mouse-based studies investigating mechanisms by which oxidative inflammatory lipids inhibit PTH signaling in the vessel wall.

Avatar

Peter Tontonoz, MD, PhD

(B,T) is a Howard Hughes investigator and Distinguished Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in the DGSOM and former director of the MD/PhD training program (MSTP) at UCLA. Trainees in his lab will work on the co-regulation of metabolic and inflammatory gene expression and the impact of nuclear receptors (LXR, PPAR and VDR) signaling on complex metabolic disease to meld steroid/sterol hormone biology to the cause and repair of degenerative diseases. 

Avatar

Cun-Yu Wang, DDS

(B,T) is the No-Hee Park Professor and Chair of the Division of Oral Biology and Medicine in the UCLA School of Dentistry. Trainees will use state-of-the-art molecular, genetic, and epigenetic approaches to investigate i) mechanisms regulating mesenchymal stem cell function, ii) Wnt-mediated oncogenesis in cancer stem cells, and iii) how osteoclast activity and NF-κB-directed oral inflammation are induced by periodontal pathogens and metabolic factors in periodontitis.

Avatar

David Wong, DMD, DMSC

(B,T,C) is Distinguished Professor in the UCLA School of Dentistry and the Director of the Center for Oral/Head & Neck Oncology Research. He is new to the T32 and an outstanding example of the NIH-funded dental clinician scientist in our “T32 mentorship bubble”. Trainees in the Wong lab will work to define the utility of the proteome, transcriptome, metabolome and microbiome in human saliva diagnostic biomarkers for systemic disease. 

Michael Yeaman, PhD

Michael R. Yeaman, PhD

(B,T) is Professor of Medicine and Director of the Institute for Infection & Immunity at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. He is new to our training faculty. The research focus of his trainees will be to elucidate the relationship between microbial infection and the host immune response in order to develop innovative anti-infective and immunotherapeutic strategies through the use of novel animal models and imaging tools to investigate the mechanisms underlying protective immunity.