UCL Division of Surgery and Interventional Science


Research Department of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Science

The department brings together an interdisciplinary group of leading engineers, scientists and clinicians working at the interface of surgical and rehabilitation engineering for the optimisation of personalised clinical procedures.

Head: Professor Rui Loureiro

The Research Department of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Science is a global centre for science driven breakthroughs in the restoration of pain free functional mobility and high-quality independent living. We are an interdisciplinary translational research department where clinicians, scientists, engineers, innovators and technologists work together applying research in real time to physical medicine and rehabilitation.

The department is located on the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust (RNOH) site at the Stanmore campus, with geographically separate components across the site, including the center for BioEngineering and Surgical Technology and the Aspire Centre for Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology and a newly revitalised partnership between RNOH Research & Innovation and UCL, which enables delivery of translational clinical research.

The work is centred on new approaches and platforms for rehabilitation and implant science that includes rehabilitation engineering, robotics, neuromodulation, biomechanics, neuro-prosthetics, tissue and nerve engineering, and intelligent artificial joints. We integrate our work with key collaborators across UCL and UCL partners that are working on the basic science of tissue engineering and stem cells, biomaterials, AI data models, behaviour change and psychology.

Our research themes highlighted below stimulate interdisciplinary working by integrating knowledge and methods from different disciplines, using a real synthesis of approaches across rehabilitation engineering and implant science in the application of multiple Neuro-MSK conditions and facilitate stronger collaboration with UCL Engineering and engineering lead innovation. Our academic unit is built around the clinical work on Spinal Cord & Peripheral Nerve Injuries, Prosthetics & Orthotics and Complex Joint Reconstruction.  We have aligned our themes to RCUK priorities and are building strong research programmes in collaboration with key UCL centres, with the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital and also with other UCL hospitals and Biomedical Research Centres in order to ensure our research targets unmet clinical needs and stays relevant to both the NHS and industry.

Spider diagram of research themes

Together with Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (RNOH) at Stanmore, we demonstrate impact by delivering research and innovations that influence health and wealth of the UK and internationally.

The department brings together pre/post rehabilitation, surgical innovations, data science and social integration in order to identify/act on the warning signs and empower self-management of the condition (e.g. osteosarcoma) and engage communities. The department employs the MDT approach to further innovative MSK treatment and develops assistive technologies (e.g. exoskeletons, intelligent implant technologies) that facilitate/enhance/support joint movement and advanced biosensing to enable the acquisition and monitoring of biomarkers of tissue/bone important in digital pathology. In addition to pre-rehabilitation, surgical and post interventional rehabilitation, information is required on how individuals cope when they are discharged and return to their own homes and what factors affect their recovery and wellbeing. In particular there is a need for a support system that can provide healthcare providers and users with an early warning of possible deterioration outside the hospital environment.