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Tuan Named Chief of NIAMS Branch

Dr. Rocky S. Tuan, former director of the orthopaedic research laboratory at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, recently joined the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases as chief of its new Cartilage Biology and Orthopaedics Branch. He will develop a multidisciplinary research program that focuses on skeletal biology, cartilage diseases such as osteoarthritis, and orthopaedics, fields in which he has extensive and widely recognized expertise.

"He is internationally renowned for his pioneering work in deciphering the cellular mechanisms regulating cartilage development," said Dr. Peter Lipsky, NIAMS scientific director. "His research accomplishments span multiple disciplines, including developmental biology, cell and molecular biology, biochemistry and the emerging area of tissue engineering."

Dr. Rocky S. Tuan

Musculoskeletal problems are some of the most chronic, costly and debilitating diseases that affect public health, and they compromise daily life for millions of Americans. Many skeletal diseases are currently not treatable. The cartilage biology and orthopaedics program will target the basic biology of musculoskeletal diseases and the application of tissue engineering technologies to create a national resource in this critical and underserved area of research.

"Medical research in this area currently lags behind some other disciplines, and the NIH has an opportunity to make a significant difference in this field," said Lipsky. "Having a scientist of Dr. Tuan's experience and caliber will allow the NIH to address this important area of public health need. The basic cartilage biology, osteoarthritis and orthopaedic research programs that Dr. Tuan will create and implement will be a vital component of a larger trans-NIH Center of Musculoskeletal Medicine."

Tuan received his doctorate in 1977 from Rockefeller University. He served as a research fellow and then an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School. From 1980 to 1988, he was an assistant and then associate professor in the department of biology at the University of Pennsylvania. Since 1988, he has served as professor in the department of orthopaedic surgery and department of biochemistry and molecular biology at Thomas Jefferson University. In addition to being named director of the orthopaedic research laboratory in 1988, he became vice chairman of the department of orthopaedic surgery in 1996, and, in 1998, director of the cell tissue and engineering Ph.D. program (the first of its kind in the nation) at the university.

Tuan has authored numerous papers and is a member of editorial, advisory and review boards of the leading journals in his fields, including the Journal of Arthroplasty, Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, Molecular Biotechnology, Biology of the Cell and the Journal of Orthopaedic Research. He was a former study section chair and member of the advisory and oversight committee of NIH's Center for Scientific Review.

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