Division of Orthopaedic Research


David Wilson

The UBC Division of Orthopaedic Research conducts internationally-acclaimed research that includes basic science, applied research on human subjects, and community initiatives on topics relevant to orthopaedic practice.

These topics include human mobility with aging and after injury and biomechanical strategies to understand and treat problems of the spine and joints. Our core faculty members are located at two UBC senate-approved research centres, the International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD) and the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility (CHHM).  A wide array of Associate Faculty members provide rich opportunities for collaboration with orthopaedic faculty and trainees.

While there exists considerable collaboration between the members of our faculty, our specific research directions can be best understood by looking at the research focus of each core faculty member:

Heather McKay, Professor of Orthopaedics and Family Practice
Dr. McKay’s group is is focused in three main areas: (i) investigating lifestyle factors that influence the health, mobility and social conectedness of children, youth and older adults; (ii) implementation and scale-up science; focus on effective community-based health promoting interventions, and (iii) knowledge translation.

Thomas Oxland, Professor of Orthopaedics and Mechanical Engineering
Dr. Oxland’s group is interested in the biomechanics of musculoskeletal problems, with a particular focus in two areas currently: i) studying the mechanisms of spinal cord injury and developing more information about how different types of injuries can lead to different types of spinal cord damage; and ii) exploring the challenges in the surgical treatment of adult spinal deformity with a focus on biomechanical modelling and on changes to the paraspinal musculature.

Bonnie Sawatzky, Associate Professor of Orthopaedics
Dr. Sawatzky’s group has four areas of focus: i) Wheelchair and gait mobility (biomechanics and energetics) in individuals with spinal cord injury across the lifespan; ii) Efficiency of wheelchair components and design; iii) Pain and disability in individuals with spinal cord injury; and iv) Long term outcomes of adults with Arthrogryposis (international registry).

David Wilson, Professor of Orthopaedics
Dr. Wilson’s group develops new methods for measuring joint mechanics and applies these methods to a) identify specific mechanical causes of osteoarthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions and b) quantify the effects of clinical treatments on mechanics.

Broad Interests

  • Health and mobility in the aging population
  • Biomechanics of the injured and degenerative spine
  • Mobility of people using assistive devices
  • Mechanical causes and solutions for osteoarthritis

Division Members

Last NameFirst NameFaculty RankPrimary DivisionSecondary DivisionRegionWork Location
FernlundGoranAssociate Faculty MemberMaterials EngineeringResearchVancouver
GilesJoshua WilliamAffiliate Assistant ProfessorResearchVancouver IslandUniversity of Victoria
McEwenJames AllenAdjunct ProfessorResearchVancouverDiamond Health Care Centre
McKayHeatherProfessor (Tenure)ResearchVancouverRobert H.N. Ho Research Centre
OxlandThomasProfessor (Tenure)ResearchVancouverBlusson Spinal Cord Centre
SawatzkyBonitaAssociate Professor (Tenure)ResearchVancouverBlusson Spinal Cord Centre
ShadganBabakAssistant Professor (Grant Tenure Track)ResearchVancouverBlusson Spinal Cord Centre
ShahriariDenaAssistant Professor (Tenure Track)ResearchVancouverBlusson Spinal Cord Centre
WangRizhiAssociate Faculty MemberMaterials EngineeringResearchVancouver
WilsonDavid RobertProfessor (Tenure)ResearchVancouverRobert H.N. Ho Research Centre