Institute History

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Although many of the leaders of British Orthopaedics had received their training at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (RNOH), there was no formal school set up before 1946. The RNOH was recognised as a postgraduate teaching hospital and it was recommended that an Institute of Orthopaedics should be founded and that it should be associated with the RNOH.

The Institute of Orthopaedics & Musculoskeletal Science (IOMS) was founded at the RNOH in the Summer of 1946.

Initially located at the RNOH site in Great Portland Street, London - Stanmore in Middlesex, the country branch of the Hospital - offered better facilities for expansion and by 1948 most of the Institute facilities had moved to Stanmore.

Retiring from the Nuffield Professorship of Orthopaedics in Oxford in 1948 Mr Herbert Seddon occupied the post of Director of Studies as a joint appointment between the RNOH and the Institute.

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In 1948 a unit looking into research on plastics began. In 1954 this was renamed Biomechanics and Surgical Materials. Still later this became Biomedical Engineering led by the late Professor John Scales. Biomedical Engineering originally evolved to bring together the various applications of engineering to orthopaedic problems and to provide for a more structured growth of this type of activity in the future. Stanmore Implants Worldwide (SIW) was formed for the manufacture of specialised prosthetic implants. The close relationship with the Centre has enabled SIW to became one of the world's leading specialist companies in the design and manufacture of custom-made implants.

In 1952 the first part of the present IOMS buildings at Stanmore were established. In 1958 three new wings were built into the biochemistry wing and devoted to clinical and experimental research, bacteriology and cytology. The "Wellcome Museum of Orthopaedics" and the Radiological Department for the Museum of Orthopaedic Radiology were established, which comprised initially of an invaluable collection of radiographs.

In 1964 the National Fund for Research into Poliomyelitis and Other Crippling Dieases generously donated £100,000 for a Chair of Orthopaedics. This together with a supplementary recurrent grant from the British Postgraduate Medical Federation made it possible for a Professorial Unit to be established.

Professor Geoffrey Burwell succeeded Sir Herbert Seddon in 1967 and did much to modernise the Institute and place research on a contemporary footing especially in the field of bone transplanation. He was succeeded by Professor Lipman Kessel who established an internationally recognised shoulder unit at the Institute and Hospital.

In 1982 Professor George Bentley, Professor of Orthopaedics & Accident Surgery in the University of Liverpool was appointed to the Chair of Orthopaedics in the Institute.

In 1984 the Hospital moved its Physiotherapy Department to a new building and the vacated building was converted into the Sir Herbert Seddon Postgraduate Teaching Centre. This accommodates the Orthopaedic Library and a Lecture Theatre dedicated to the first academic employed by the Institute - Professor Charles Lack.

In 1987 Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, Chancellor of the University of London, inaugurated a new School of Medicine at UCL consisting of five former institutions and the Institute of Orthopaedics in association with the RNOH became a department of University College London.

Professor Scales retired from Biomedical Engineering in 1987 and Professor Peter Walker was appointed as the Head of Centre.

Dr Jean Pringle was appointed Head of the Histopathology Unit in 1987.

In 1991 a large part of the administration was reorganised by University College. The prefabricated building used by the Institute Administration was modified to form a "Students Centre".

Professor Allen Goodship was appointed as Professor of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Sciences in 1996 as a joint appointment with the Royal Veterinary College.

In 1996 the custom implant service became a limited company (Stanmore Implants Worldwide), with the aim to provide more widespread use of the implants, and to provide opportunities for new developments in design and materials.

In October 1999 Dr Gordon Blunn was made Professor and in January 2000 appointed Head of the Centre of Bio-medical Engineering.

Professor George Bentley retired as Head of Clinical Orthopaedics in September 2002. Mr John Skinner, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon was appointed as Acting Head of the Clinical Centre until the appointment of Professor David Marsh in September 2005 as Head.

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In 2000 the Directorship changed when Professor Allen Goodship was appointed as Head of the IOMS and also the Head of Biomedical Engineering left. Funding from the IRC term was also nearing completion. This presented an opportunity to restructure the IOMS. Four Centres were identified: Centre for Biomedical Engineering with Professor Gordon Blunn appointed as Head, Aspire Centre for Disability Sciences (ACDS) headed by Professor Martin Ferguson-Pell and the Centre for Academic Clinical Orthopaedics had a vacancy following the retirement of Professor George Bentley. The Institute of Human Performance was incorporated into ACDS.

A new management system was introduced comprising a senior management team of Centre Heads and the senior Administrator. A system of appropriate committees was introduced in line with UCL requirements. There is now a cohesive interaction of staff across the Institute. Clinical interactions need to be developed further. UCL reviewed musculoskeletal research and agreed a North and South Pole, under the Deanship of Professor Souhami and the Vice Provost for Biomedicine, Professor Roland Levinsky. The academic staff complement was increased by splitting HEFCE posts and formulating funding partnerships to create five lectureships. A strategic link with the Royal Veterinary College (15mins from Stanmore) initiated with Professor Goodship's joint appointment was consolidated with one lectureship (Dr Helen Birch) and one readership (Dr Alan Wilson). State of the art in vivo facilities with full veterinary support are provided at the RVC.

Dr Robert Brown was promoted to a Chair and he relocated the Tissue Repair and Engineering Centre to IOMS from the Department of Surgery. Professor Brown heads the Centre for Tissue Regeneration Science, which comprises the Histopathology Unit and Cell and Tissue Engineering.

Professor Rolfe Birch and Thomas Carlstedt were promoted after submission to the UCL promotions procedure. Dr Adrienne Flanagan appointed jointly with the Dept of Histopathology took over from Dr Pringle in the Histopathology Unit at Stanmore. Adrienne Flanagan has recently been promoted to a Chair. Professor Flanagan now Heads the Diagnostic Unit at RNOHT and conducts research into osteoclast biology in collaboration with Professor Mike Horton at the Bloomsbury Campus. Professor Flanagan has organised a research tissue bank to disseminate unique tissues for research.

The IOMS graduate tutor Dr V Mudera has generated a significant increase in graduate students to some 42. IOMS is inundated by applications for MD and PhD positions. Grant income has increased substantially over the last five years, as have peer-reviewed publications. The NHS research programmes have all been rated as excellent.

The RNOHT, in addition to the substantive contributions to academic and support positions, agreed to make an additional contribution five years initially to the Chair in Academic Clinical Orthopaedics. Professor David Marsh from Queens University, Belfast, commenced his appointment as the Head of Academic Clinical Orthopaedics in September 2005.

The announcement that the RNOH plans for redevelopment have led to provisional support from UCL for IOMS to be included as an integral component of the new hospital. RNOH and IOMS are in the process of developing a joint research strategy to enhance current activities, increase clinical and scientific interactions, not only on the Stanmore Campus, but also across the whole of UCL.

Page last modified on 18 jan 12 11:38