Stem Cell Therapies in Orthopaedic Surgery

Organized by the ORS Public Outreach Committee

The Ask the Experts Interview Series aims to leverage basic science and clinical perspectives and expertise in addressing challenging and/or timely topics in orthopaedics research. The goal is to provide accessible information to the general public.

For this interview series, the focus of our topic will be stem cell therapies in orthopaedic surgery.


Dr. Rachel Frank
Orthopaedic Surgeon
University of Colorado School of Medicine

Dr. Rachel Frank is a board certified orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist who focuses on the surgical and non-surgical management of knee, shoulder, and elbow injuries. Dr. Frank has specialized training and technical expertise in the areas of advanced knee and shoulder arthroscopy, ligament reconstruction, cartilage/meniscus restoration surgery, shoulder instability surgery, biologic treatments for musculoskeletal pathology, and care specific to the female athlete. Dr. Frank earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Illinois while playing 4 years of Division I Soccer, and her medical degree (MD) at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. She then completed her Orthopaedic Surgery Residency at the renowned Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL as well as a Sports Medicine and Shoulder Fellowship at Rush University Medical Center, where she assisted in taking care of the Chicago Bulls, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Fire Soccer Club, Chicago Steele (hockey), USA Rugby, and DePaul University. Following her Sports Medicine fellowship, Dr. Frank completed a Traveling Fellowship throughout Canada and Europe, developing additional expertise in the areas of complex shoulder reconstruction, knee joint preservation surgery, advanced ligament repair and reconstruction, and techniques in OrthoBiologics. Currently, Dr. Frank serves as an Associate Professor in Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, is Director of the Joint Preservation Program at the University of Colorado, and is head orthopaedic team physician for the Colorado Rapids professional soccer team. Dr. Frank has authored or co-authored over 300 peer-reviewed journal articles, over 50 book chapters, and presents her research both nationally and internationally at orthopaedic conferences and meetings every year. Her research has garnered dozens of prestigious national and international awards, including the prestigious AOSSM Bart Mann Award for the Advancement of Sports Medicine Research, as well as several competitive grants, including funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) and the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF).

Dr. Farsh Guilak
Washington University in St. Louis

Dr. Farshid Guilak is a Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Washington University, Director of Research for the St. Louis Shriners Hospitals for Children, and Co-Director of the Washington University Center of Regenerative Medicine.  His laboratory is pursuing a multidisciplinary approach for developing new tissue engineering and stem cell-based therapies for musculoskeletal diseases, spearheading new approaches that combine genome engineering and synthetic biology to stem cells.   He has published nearly 400 articles in peer-reviewed journals and has co-edited four books. He is the past editor-in-chief of the Journal of Biomechanics, and serves on numerous other journal editorial boards, He has won several national and international awards for his research, including 5 separate awards for mentoring.  He has also worked extensively in the translation of tissue engineering technologies and he is the Founder of Cytex Therapeutics, a startup company focusing on developing new regenerative medicine therapies for musculoskeletal conditions. He was recently elected as a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Dr. Brian Saunders
Associate Professor
Texas A&M University

Dr. W. Brian Saunders received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Texas A&M University and completed a rotating internship at the University of Tennessee. He then returned to Texas A&M to complete a PhD in vascular biology. He subsequently completed a small animal surgery residency at Texas A&M. Dr. Saunders is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons and is also an ACVS founding fellow in Minimally Invasive Surgery. He is currently an Associate Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Texas A&M University. He is the director of the Canine Comparative Orthopedics and Cellular Therapeutics Lab and holds the Linda and Dennis H. Clark ’68 Chair in Clinical Research. Dr. Saunders’ clinical interests include arthroscopic joint surgery, minimally invasive fracture repair, interlocking nailing, and joint replacement.  Dr. Saunders’ research interests include canine mesenchymal stem cells, tissue engineering, and total joint replacement.

Session Moderators

Dr. Jason C. Marvin
Postdoctoral Researcher
Harvard Medical School

Dr. Jason C. Marvin is a Dean’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and Center for Regenerative Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. Their doctoral research under the mentorship of Prof. Nelly Andarawis-Puri identified candidate protein regulators of mammalian tendon regeneration using the super-healer Murphy Roths Large (MRL/MpJ) mouse strain. Under the mentorship of Prof. Jenna Galloway, Jason is now complementing their bioengineering skillset with genetic and developmental biology approaches to investigate the biological mechanisms underlying musculoskeletal tissue regeneration. His postdoctoral work leverages the zebrafish, a robust vertebrate model of tendon regeneration, to generate novel transgenic reporter lines for elucidating the role of key extracellular matrix (ECM) constituents in regulating resident tendon cell activity during homeostasis and regeneration. Dr. Marvin received their B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2017 and their Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Cornell University in 2022.

Dr. Dianne Little
Associate Professor
Purdue University

Dr. Dianne Little is an Associate Professor of Basic Medical Sciences and Biomedical Engineering (by Courtesy) at Purdue University. Her Multidisciplinary Orthopaedic Regenerative Engineering (MORE) laboratory explores rotator cuff tendon tissue engineering through novel biomaterials and ‘omics techniques, primary glenohumeral osteoarthritis, and the interaction of environmental factors such as psychosocial and environmental stressors on the progression and phenotype of osteoarthritis. As a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, she has extensive experience with preclinical models of orthopaedic disease. Dr. Little received her veterinary degree from the University of Liverpool, England, then completed internship, residency, and PhD at North Carolina State University. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship and transitioned to independent investigator under the mentorship of Dr. Farsh Guilak while in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Duke University before moving to Purdue in 2016.

Video Transcription Volunteers

A special thank you to the following ORS members who helped to transcribe this video:

Dr. Kehlin Moodley
Medical Doctor at Department of Health

Harpriya Khela
Medical Student
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland