The Hand and Upper Limb Centre has an active basic science and clinical research program and since its inception in 1992, the research activities at HULC have gained an international reputation. Researchers from HULC frequently attend national and international meetings to present their findings. Research is concentrated in three associated laboratories, staffed in a multidisciplinary collaborative fashion by surgeons, PhD-level scientists, graduate students, residents, undergraduate students and laboratory technicians.
The Bio-Engineering Research Laboratory:
This laboratory is directed by Drs. Johnson and King, whose specifics can be viewed on their webpages on this site. The Laboratory is housed in the Lawson Health Research Institute. The major focus of the Laboratory is on engineering-based biomechanical investigation aimed at improving the treatment of disorders of the upper extremity. Ongoing studies examine implant design and fixation, fracture stabilization, ligament repair techniques and the causes of arthritis. Facilities include a materials testing machine, hand, elbow and wrist joint-loading simulators, thin-film pressure sensing transducers, and a wide variety of laboratory-made analytical systems. Projects have led to clinical adoption of new treatment methods and the design (with industrial partners) of surgical devises and joint implants. Funding for these research efforts is by several major granting agencies, including the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
The Clinical Outcomes Research Laboratory:
This lab is directed by Drs. MacDermid and Grewal, whose specifics can be viewed on their webpages on this site. The Laboratory is housed in the Lawson Health Research Institute. The major focus of the lab is on clinical questions related to enhancing prevention, assessment and management of musculoskeletal disorders and related work-disability of the upper extremity. A multitude of ongoing studies examines distal radius fractures, shoulder arthroplasty, elbow reconstruction and other clinical entities. Funding of this lab is by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
The Cell and Molecular Biology Laboratory:
This lab is directed by Drs. O'Gorman and Gan, whose specifics can be viewed on their webpages on this site. The Laboratory is located in the Lawson Health Research Institute. The major focus of the lab is on the molecular mechanisms of Dupuytren's contracture and wound healing. Specific molecular studies are aimed at dissecting the role of the Wnt/beta-catenin pathway and its molecular regulators in the pathogenesis of these illnesses. The lab facilities include a fluorescent deconvolution microscope, a SELDI-TOF-MS proteomics analyser, and a level II cell and tissue culture room. Extensive expertise in molecular biological approaches and protein biochemistry is available. Research funding for the HULC Cell and Molecular Biology Laboratory is through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, The US Plastic Surgery Educational Foundation, The Canadian Society for Surgery of the Hand, The Lawson Internal Research Fund and the University of Western Ontario.
The Surgical Mechanotronics Research Laboratory:
This lab is directed by Dr. Louis Ferreira. His research is primarily in the field of Medical Mechatronics, with special interest in orthopaedic surgery and the biomechanics of major joints. The focus of his work is to improve healthcare in the context of orthopaedic surgeries, with specific objectives to improve surgical outcomes and eliminate unnecessary surgical revisions. The research plan is to leverage current technologies and to develop new technologies and methods, in order to provide orthopaedic surgeons with a broad array of new tools and information.
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