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Academy President
John Tongue, MD

Academy 1st Vice President
Josh Jacobs, MD

Academy 2nd Vice President
Frederick M. Azar, MD

Chair, Board of Specialty Societies
Greg Mencio, MD

Chair, Board of Councilors
Fred Redfern, MD

Board Member-At-Large
Annunziato Amendola, MD

Board Member-At-Large
Matthew B. Dobbs, MD

Chair, Council on Research
and Quality
Kevin Bozic, MD, MBA


Humanitarian Award
Shafique P. Pirani, MD

Diversity Award
Franklin H. Sim, MD

Tipton Award
Vernon T. Tolo, MD

Kappa Delta Award Winners

Special Projects

2012 AAOS Public Service Advertisement Campaign

Safe, Accessible Playground Press Release

American Joint Replacement Registry (AJRR) Fact Sheet


Embargo for Release
           February 8, 2012

For more information, contact:

Lauren Pearson Riley 847-384-4031 708-227-1773
Kayee Ip 847-384-4035 312-543-3211


Awards Recognize Innovative Orthopaedic Research

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Kappa Delta Sorority and the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF) presented four research awards to scientists who are helping to close the gap between basic research and patient treatment and care. Honored at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), these award winners have made recent discoveries in the following areas of musculoskeletal health:

  • Intervertebral Disc Degeneration Therapy
  • Prognosis and Predictors of ACL Reconstructions
  • Bone Repair Therapy
  • Impingement and Dislocation in Total Hip Arthroplasty (THA)

Treating IVD Degeneration at the Molecular Level
The 2012 Kappa Delta Young Investigator Award was presented to Xudong Joshua Li, MD, PhD of the University of Virginia (UVA) for the study, “Growth and Differentiation Factor-5 Modulation in Intervertebral Disc Degeneration.” 

Intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration, leads to chronic back pain and is a major health problem in western societies. Current therapies for degenerative disc disease only treat the symptoms of the condition. Dr. Li and his colleagues at the UVA Department of Orthopaedic Surgery identified a potential therapy to prevent or delay the progression of disc degeneration using growth differentiation factor-5 (GDF-5), a protein that plays a role in a variety of musculoskeletal processes, including joint formation and ligament maintenance and repair.

“An effective biological-based therapy that alters the course of degenerative disc disease is needed,” said Dr. Li. “GDF-5 could be a potential therapeutic regent for early and moderate disc degeneration for the future clinical application.”

For the past seven years, Dr. Li and his team have investigated the role that GDF-5 plays in intervertebral disc degeneration and found that a deficiency of GDF-5 leads to abnormalities of the disc at the tissue level. With this information, Dr. Li and his team performed a series of studies to investigate the effects of GDF-5 on different phases of the disease via gene and cell-based experimental approaches. 
Dr. Li’s studies found:

  • GDF-5 gene therapy could effectively stimulate matrix metabolism of intervertebral disc cells in vitro.
  • GDF-5 gene therapy could promote the healing of degenerated intervertebral discs.
  • Tissue engineering in combination with GDF-5 engineered stem cells is worth further investigation.

Predicting Outcomes of ACL Reconstruction
Kurt P. Spindler, MD, of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and his fellow co-investigators for the Multicenter Orthopaedic Outcomes Network (MOON), won the 2012 Kappa Delta Ann Doner Vaughan Award for the paper, “Prognosis and Predictors of ACL Reconstructions using the MOON Cohort: A Model for Comparative Effectiveness Studies.”  The MOON consortium, established in 2002, was designed to enroll and follow a group of patients with reconstructed anterior cruciate ligaments (ACL) to determine the modifiable predictors of long-term outcomes of ACL reconstruction. 

The goals of MOON have been to:

  • Identify both the short- and long-term predictors of sports function, activity level and general health through validated patient performing.
  • Identify the symptoms and signs of osteoarthritis.
  • Quantify the incidence of ACL reconstruction graft and/or contralateral ACL failures and additional surgical procedures.  

 “The award is a great honor for a team of sports medicine surgeons who collaborated to determine the modifiable risk factors for poor outcome after ACL reconstruction, which is leading to better treatments,” said Dr. Spindler. “For example, we learned that allografts for ACLR have a much higher failure rate than autografts in high school and college age groups and should be avoided.”

A New Approach to Bone Repair
The third Kappa Delta Award, named in honor of Elizabeth Winston Lanier was presented to Jay R. Lieberman, MD of the University of Connecticut Health Center for his paper “Regional Gene Therapy (RGT) to Enhance Bone Repair.” Current procedures to treat large bone defects, or enhance bone repair in a compromised biological environment, are associated with morbidity and high costs. Dr. Lieberman has worked for the past 18 years to develop RGT to provide surgeons with a more effective and less expensive treatment option to manage difficult bone grafting problems.

“Our goal is to develop Regional Gene Therapy as one aspect of a comprehensive tissue engineering strategy to enhance bone repair,” said Dr. Lieberman.  “We envision Regional Gene Therapy being used to manage a diverse number of clinical situations including fracture nonunion, spinal fusion and total knee replacement (TKR).”

Dr. Lieberman’s most recent research demonstrates the efficacy of a “same day,” three-day RGT treatment strategy  that would eliminate the cell expansion step that makes current, two-step therapy methods so time-consuming and expensive. Dr. Lieberman then confirmed that using “same-day” gene therapy on critical-sized defects in rats can produce better bone quality on microCT and biomechanical testing when compared to the conventional two step approach.

“We are excited by our results with the “same day” strategy because this regimen is convenient and may be cost-effective.  It moves our research program one step closer to clinical application,” said Dr. Lieberman.

Identifying Risk Factors for THA Complications
Thomas D. Brown, PhD, of the University of Iowa, and his colleagues Jacob M. Elkins M.S., Douglas R. Pedersen Ph.D., and John J. Callaghan, M.D. received the 2012 Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation Clinical Research Award for their paper, “Impingement and Dislocation in Total Hip Arthroplasty: Mechanisms and Consequences.”

The dislocation rate in total hip replacement is sometimes as high as 5 percent for primary procedures and 10 percent for revisions. Impingement, or the unintended contact between the femoral head (ball) and the acetabular cup (socket), along with subluxation (partial dislocation), also are appreciable problems that cause patients pain and discomfort, as well as financial costs.

“Although instability now stands as the single most common reason for revision surgery, the biomechanical factors responsible for impingement, subluxation, and dislocation remain under-investigated relative to their burden of morbidity,” said Dr. Brown.

The Iowa group’s manuscript outlines a 15-year program of laboratory and clinical research undertaken to better understand total hip impingement, partial dislocation and total dislocation, and to evaluate the role of surgical and non-surgical factors. To do this, Dr. Brown and his colleagues developed a series of computer-generated, multi-dimensional engineering models to study, predict and validate implant performance.  They examined how implant design factors, surgical positioning factors and patient motion challenges influence THA impingement and dislocation, and more specifically, the impingement of hard-on-hard bearings, the influence of cup design on edge loading, ceramic liner fracturing, and instability in obese patients.

“Because so many of the issues related to these implant complications are biomechanical, information derived from reliable biomechanical models can help surgeons make better-informed decisions that may reduce the likelihood of problems being experienced by patients receiving implants,” said Dr. Brown.

About the Kappa Delta Awards
In 1947, at its Golden Anniversary, the Kappa Delta Sorority announced the establishment of the Kappa Delta Research Fellowship in Orthopaedics, the first award ever created to honor achievements in the field of orthopaedic research. The first annual award, a single stipend of $1,000, was made available to the Academy in 1949 and presented at the AAOS meeting in 1950. The Kappa Delta Awards have been presented by the Academy to persons who have performed research in orthopaedic surgery that is of high significance and impact.

The sorority has since added two more awards and increased the dollar amount. At present, three annual awards of $20,000 each are given. Two awards are named for the sorority national past presidents who were instrumental in the creation of the awards: Elizabeth Winston Lanier and Ann Doner Vaughn. The third is known as the Young Investigator Award.

The fourth award, also providing $20,000, is the OREF Clinical Research Award. Established in 1995, the award recognizes outstanding clinical research related directly to musculoskeletal disease or injury.

All submitted manuscripts are reviewed, graded, and selected by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Research Development Committee, chaired by Peter Amadio, MD. For more information about the manuscript submission process, please visit

Previous Kappa Delta Award Winners

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