The Institute of Musculoskeletal Science (IOMS) & The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital 

April 2014

The Institute of Orthopaedics is located on the Campus of its main collaborative partner the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital. This year there are a large number of Staff who  are employed in the hospital and also have positions at IOMS in UCL who are leaders of respected professional bodies. This is a testament to the knowledge, expertise and leadership of Staff working at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, often in collaboration with the Institute of Orthopaedics. The large number of Staff elected to lead their  professional bodies is indicative of the excellent work that goes on at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital and at IOMS. A list of the honours is provided below:

Professor Tim Briggs  President British Orthopaedic Association and Chair of the Federation of Specialist Hospitals

Mr Aresh Nejad President of the British Society for Children’s Orthopaedic Surgery

Mr John Skinner  President British Hip Society

Miss Deborah Eastwood President European Paediatric Orthopaedic Society

Mr Adrian Casey President British Association of Spine Surgeons

Dr Rita Gad El-Rab  President British Society of Orthopaedic Anaesthetists

Professor Rajiv Hanspal Past President of the British Society of Rehabilitation Medicine and of the Amputee Medical Rehabilitation Society

Professor Gordon Blunn  President Elect British Orthopaedic Research Society

Mr Stephen Cannon  President Elect (from June 2014) of the European Federation of Orthopaedics and Traumatology (IFORT)

ITAP on BBC News

March 2014

Intra Osseous Transcutaneous Prostheses (ITAP) was invented at UCL in the Institute of Orthopaedics by Professor Gordon Blunn and Dr Catherine Pendegrass.    This involves the attachment of an external prosthetic device directly to the bone using an implant that passes through the skin barrier. The main advantage of ITAP is that it directly loads the bone and amputees do not have to use a stump socket attachment, which can result in discomfort.  The use of stump socket devices sometimes this leads to so much pain and instability, which makes the external prosthetic device difficult to use.   This procedure was pioneered by surgeons at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore where a clinical trial investigating the use of ITAP for trans-femoral amputees is underway.

UCL & Kyoto University Partnership

February 2014


A UCL and Kyoto University partnership funded partly by UCLb enabled Professor Gordon Blunn to visit Kyoto University to discuss a collaborative project on enhanced osseointegration of implants using a technique pioneered by Professor Yao (bottom row right).  Also in the photograph are Shuji Higuchi, Deputy Director of the Division of Knowledge and Technology Transfer and Innvation (top left); Takashi Matsuura, European Representative for Academic Collaboration for Innovation, Kyoto University (bottom left) and Takeshi Yabutsuka, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Energy Science (top right).  This successful trip produced coated implants that will be tested at IOMS.

BioResearch in Open Access

February 2014

Significant Number of 'full-text downloads' for article 'Development of a Surgically Optimized Graft Insertion Suture Technique to Accommodate a Tissue-Engineered Tendin In Vivo' has been recorded through BioResearch Open Access.  The article was co-wrote by IOMS Prasad Sawadkar and published in the Open Access Journal in October 2013.  Catherine Sharp from Library services commented that this was a significant amount. Dr Vivek Mudera - Head of Education in the Division of Surgery - wanted to highlight the positive results of publishing in Open Access. 

IOMS Wins Award for Innovation & Excellence in Education

Andy Goldberg

January 2014

Mr Andy Goldberg OBE, Clinical Senior Lecturer at IOMS and Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, has been awarded a prestigous Award for Innovation & Excellence in Education worth £12,000. The Award aims to encourage bright new ideas and novel educational solutions to improve teaching methods and experiednce for students.  The team which includes surgical trainee, Peter Snitham and film director, Jan letocha aim to generate a new method to animate video footage of live surgery.

"We hope that our new ideas will do for surgical training what Walt Disney did for children's entertainment" said Goldberg.

Press Release in 'BioResearch Open Access' Journal

BioResearch is a bimonthly peer-reviewed open access journal and the latest issue includes the article; "Development of a Surgically Optimized Graft Insertion Suture Technique to Accommodate a Tissue-Engineered Tendon In Vivo"

Coauthors Prasad Sawadkar et al., University College London IOMS and University of Manchester, UK, describe the suture technique and present the results of mechanical stress tests and image analysis of tendons repaired using either standard graft insertion methods or their novel suture technique.  "We now have ex vivo proof of concept that this suture technique is suitable for testing in vivo, and this will be the next stage of our research, " state the authors. 

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British Orthopaedic Research Society Symposium 

October 2013

BORS Venice

A BORS Symposium on the Bionic Limb was held at the Combined Orthopaedic Research Society meeting in Venice.  The contributors to this were (from left to right) Nick Donaldson ( Medical Physics UCL ) Catherine Pendegrass (IOMS) Gordon Blunn (IOMS) Noel Fitzpatrick ('The Bionic Vet' from Guildford and Norbert Kang plastic surgeon from The Royal Free Hospital. 

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The Eleanor Davies-Colley Prize

October 2013

Anita Sanghani

Anita Sanghani was awarded the Eleanor Davies-Colley Prize for an 'outstanding PhD presentation at the Division of Surgery and Interventional Science Away Day 2013. The prize was awarded by Professor David Lomas.

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BMA Medical Book Awards 2013 

Professor Brown award

Professor Robert Brown and John Riley & Sons Ltd. have received a 'Highly Commended' award from BMA Medical Book Awards 2013 for their publication; Extreme Tissue Engineering: Concepts and Strategies for Tissue Fabrication.

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Collaboration Between UCL and ASPIRE in Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology

Aspire contract signing

On the 15th August 2013 a contract between UCL, Aspire and Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital was signed which will employ 3 new lecturers in rehabilitation engineering and assistive technology.  These Aspire lecturers are a new collaboration in a very exciting field of healthcare engineering which will address spinal injuries and other disabilities.  These lecturers will form a core in this field which is expected to increase considerably as our population ages. 

Picture from left to right; Rob Hurd, CEO Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Professor David Lomas - Dean of the medical faculty, Brian Carlin - CEO ASPIRE, Professor Anthony Finkelstein - Dean of the Engineering faculty and Professor Mark Emberton - Head of The Division of Surgery. 

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HealthWatch student prize competition 2013

Henry Lancashire

The winners of this year's HealthWatch student prize competition  for the critical evaluation of clinical research was Henry Lancashire.

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First Prize at the British Orthopaedic Research Society (BORS) for best Research Presentation

Anna Panagiotidou

Tuesday 5th March, 2013

A presentation at the British Hip Society (BHS) with IOMS MD student and London Trauma & Orthopaedics trainee Miss Anna Panagiotidou won first prize for best presentation.

The project in collaboration with Mr. Benjamin Bolland from Southampton investigated the corrosion of metal on metal hip replacements, where ion release into the body is a significant concern. This in vitro study investigated the effect of increased frictional torque on the fretting corrosion of the modular junction between the stem and the head. Increased torque levels generated by large CoCr heads on CoCr or Ti result in increased susceptibility to fretting corrosion at the modular interface. As a study it’s the first of its kind to be able to quantify this correlation with the use of electrochemical testing.

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UCL team wins cancer research prize

Tuesday 26th February, 2013

Imaging of cartilaginous tumours

A team led by Professor Adrienne Flanagan from UCL has won the 2011 Jeremy Jass Prize for Research Excellence in Pathology.

The award, made by the Journal of Pathology, was for a paper on BRC-supported research into a genetic mutation present in approximately half of all types of chondrosarcomas (the second most common primary cancer of bone cancer).

The prize was awarded in Utrecht, Netherlands, at the winter meeting of the Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland on 6 January 2013 and was accepted on behalf of the team by Dr Fernanda Amary, Consultant Histopathologist at the Royal National Orthopedic Hospital NHS Trust and a senior lecturer at UCL.


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IBSc. in Orthopaedic Science and MSc. in Musculoskeletal Science  Awards 2011-2012

Tuesday 29th January, 2013

On Friday 18th January, 2013 Professor Gordon Blunn presented the following prizes to students who have taken the IBSc. in Orthopaedic Science and MSc. in Musculoskeletal Science courses.

Professor Blunn and Barian Mohidin

The Scales Prize, awarded to the best overall student on the IBSc. Orthopaedic Science course, was presented to winner Barian Mohidin.  Following the presentation of his student project, “Subchondral Bone Quality in Human Femoral Head Osteoarthritis”, the Scales Medal, Prize and Certificate were awarded to Barian by Professor Blunn.

The RNOH Leadership Award donated by the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital of a Prize and Certificate to the IBSc. student who makes an outstanding contribution in promoting high quality academic attainment, was presented to Amir Gahanbani Ardakani.

The MSc Academic Prize, donated by IOMS and awarded for outstanding academic achievement on the MSc. in Musculoskeletal Science course, was made to Christian Smith following the presentation of his research project “A Raman Spectroscopy Analysis of Bone Quality Associated with Osteoporosis and Fractured Femoral Necks” the Prize and Certificate were awarded to Christian by Professor Blunn.

Professor Blunn and Christian Smith

The MSc Academic Leadership Award, donated by IOMS, of a Prize and Certificate, to the MSc. student who makes an outstanding contribution in promoting high quality academic attainment was presented to Christian Smith.

For both the IBSc. in Orthopaedic Science and MSc. in Musculoskeletal Science courses the Outstanding Achievement awards are made by the Examination Boards to the student that has the best academic performance.  The Academic Leadership awards are made by student peers based on scholarly and academic attainment across the student body through leadership and collegiality.

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IOMS in The Times

9th January, 2013

In his Wild Notes Times column of 22nd December Simon Barnes reported on IOMS' role in identifying key evidence in the fight against illegal rare bird hunting in the north of England.

The skeletal remains of a rare female hen harrier - 'Bowland Betty' - were found on a grouse moor in the Yorkshire Dales last year. Fitted with a radio tag, her position was located by the RSPB who suspected the bird had been shot. The Zoological Society of London carried out a post-mortem on the remains of the skeleton who, in turn, asked IOMS for help. Radiographs showed several dense particles located in the femur.   Using energy dispersive x-ray analysis, sections of the bone fragments showed that the dense particles were composed of lead and were responsible for fracturing the tibia (see below), confirming that the bird had been shot. 

Last year there was only one breeding pair of these rare birds left in the UK, so the death of Bowland Betty is of considerable importance. Yorkshire police are continuing to investigate and are offering a reward for any information leading to a conviction.

Bowland Betty radiograph
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IOMS Professor Robert Brown publishes new Extreme Tissue Engineering book

3rd January, 2013

Professor Brown's Extreme Tissue Engineering

Professor Robert Brown - Professor of Tissue Engineering at IOMS and Director of the UCL Centre for Tissue Regeneration Science - has recently published Extreme Tissue Engineering: Concepts and Strategies for Tissue Fabrication.

Publisher Wiley describes the volume as 'an engaging introduction to Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine (TERM), allowing the reader to understand, discern and place into context the mass of scientific, multi-disciplinary data currently flooding the field. It is designed to provide interdisciplinary, ground-up explanations in a digestible, entertaining way, creating a text which is relevant to all students of TERM regardless of their route into the field'.

Professor Brown has published over 180 peer-reviewed publications and 18 patents/applications, collaborating across industry and academia to promote interdisciplinary research in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine.

Read more about Extreme Tissue Engineering at the Wiley website.

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BBSRC funding success for tendon research at IOMS

3rd December, 2012

Dr Helen Birch

Dr Helen Birch, a Senior Lecturer at IOMS, has secured funding from the BBSRC to study adventitious age-related crosslinking of collagen and the consequences for skeletal tissue function. Dr Birch and co-applicants Professor Nora De Leeuw from UCL Department of Chemistry and Dr Laurent Bozec from the Eastman Dental Institute UCL will combine their multi-disciplinary expertise in computational studies, experimental biochemistry and nano-scale mechanics to understand how crosslinking changes the mechanical properties of collagen fibrils and susceptibility to degradation in tendon. The project leads on from previous work by Dr Birch’s group published in The Journal of Biological Chemistry which identifies the extracellular matrix as the key to deterioration in tendon function with ageing rather than an age-related decline in cell activity. Understanding adventitious age-related modifications to proteins holds considerable scope for translation into better healthcare as levels may be modified by diet, exercise and pharmacological agents.

Levels of glucosepane in human Achilles tendon against donor age (a) and trace from mass spectrometer showing levels of glucosepane dominate (b)

Dr Birch was also successful in a second application to the BBSRC in collaboration with a team of researchers from Queen Mary, University of London, Liverpool University and University of East Anglia. The funded project will investigate the role of the inter-fascicular matrix in tendon in modulating fatigue resistance. The project follows on from the recently published finding that the greater extension seen in energy storing tendons stems from greater fascicle sliding. The project will provide a better understanding of how injury, ageing and disease influence tendon mechanics via the inter-fascicular matrix and may provide insights into methods of limiting injury risk.

An illustration of fascicle dissection for testing of the interfascicular membrane. (a) Two intact fascicles bound by fascicular membrane viewed under polarizing light; (b) one end of each fascicle has been cut, leaving a section of intact fascicular membrane of 10 mm length; (c) schematic of fascicle dissection, with fascicles in yellow and interfascicular membrane in red.broken line

UCL Smartnail project wins IET Innovation Healthcare Technology Award

29th November, 2012

Dr Steve Taylor with IET Award

Smartnail, a telemetric nail developed by engineers from medical device firm Smith and Nephew Inc. and a UCL team supervised by Dr Steve Taylor, has won the prestigious Healthcare Technology Award at this year's IET Innovation Awards.

The judging panel commented:

'The winners of the Healthcare Technology Award have developed an innovative and well needed tool to assist in monitoring fracture healing that could revolutionise the way in which bone fractures are treated and demonstrates how technological innovation is ringing the changes in modern digital healthcare.'

Read more at the IET Innovation Awards website.

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IOMS MD student wins prestigious British Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society Award

21st November, 2012

Syed Mohammad Razi Zaidi

Mr Razi Zaidi, an orthopaedic surgical trainee and MD Student at UCL studying at the Institute of Orthopaedics & Musculoskeletal Science, has won the highest accolade at the recent British Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (BOFAS) Congress held at Celtic Manor on the 13-16th November 2012. The conference is one of the largest orthopaedic specialty meetings in the UK with over 420 delegates. 

Mr Zaidi was awarded the Chang Chen Prize for the Best Podium Presentation for his Meta-analysis of the Outcomes of Ankle Replacement Surgery, which is the world’s most comprehensive review to date analysing the outcomes of more than 8000 prostheses. 

The Prize of £3000 will go towards his work on his thesis exploring the outcomes of ankle replacement technology.  The Award was made just two days after Mr Zaidi became a father for the first time to a little baby girl, ending a successful and productive week in his career.

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The world's first orthopaedic podcast series launched by UCL

19th November, 2012


The UCL Institute of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Science (IOMS) is today launching a series of short digital interviews with key orthopaedic opinion leaders from around the world. "IOMS Ortho Podcasts will become an indispensable resource for the global orthopaedic community, packed with insights into the careers and expertise of respected clinicians and researchers alongside invaluable expert advice for the FRCS (Tr&Orth) examination." Said Mr Andy Goldberg, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, and Senior Lecturer at UCL, who co-founded the series.

Funded by a UCL E-learning Development Grant (ELDG) the series was launched with six illuminating interviews featuring a variety of orthopaedic thought-leaders from around the world, including the likes of Professor Keith Willett, the UK's Trauma Tzar, and Dr Brian Donley, an Orthopaedic Surgeon from the Cleveland Clinic. Students from the MSc in Trauma and Orthopaedics will be conducting some of the interviews as part of their study.

"The IOMS Ortho Podcasts series will grow with the addition of a new Podcast every month" said Mr Peter Smitham, Clinical Lecturer and Co-Founder of the OrthopodCast Series.  He continued, "This has the potential to become a unique resource for the continuing advancement of orthopaedic learning."
Listen now at

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Obituary: Dr Paul Duncan Byers

13th November, 2012

Paul Byers

We are saddened to announce the death of Dr Paul Byers, Emeritus Reader in Osteo-articular Pathology formerly of the UCL Institute of Orthopaedics and the RNOH. 

Paul Byers arrived in London from Montreal over 50 years ago, to train in medicine at the Hammersmith and never left. He began in research by tackling the still enigmatic question of ‘what do osteoarthritic joints look like before joint damage give the patient pain’? He found six cases out of 300, and is probably still the only person to see this many. A major problem with osteoarthritis is still that by the time you know you have it, it is too late to do very much to repair it.

In 1965 Paul came to the Institute of Orthopaedics and Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital as histopathologist and senior lecturer, still with his passion for this common yet unattractive ‘condition’. Indeed, the term condition might then have been more appropriate then as it was considered a near normal consequence of old age and wear-out. But Paul became one of the growing band of international experts arguing that this was a true disease; a failure of cartilage tissue function leading to its breakdown and joint failure.

In the 1970’s Paul served for a term as Dean of the Institute of Orthopaedics, perhaps coinciding with the height of its international reputation so far. That period marked a new expansive phase of work on osteoarthritis, taking it beyond a difficult phase where ideas and dogma radiated in all directions. It was here that Paul’s intellectual strength and classical Poppenian logic became so valuable. 

In 1979 and 1987 he staged two unique London conferences to explore the theoretical basis for the pathogenesis of Osteoarthritis. All the leading international researchers and thinkers in the field at that time came - but without their data slides.  Their brief was to explain, elaborate and defend their own particular hypotheses, or stories, of what caused joint surfaces to degrade and fail. Both conferences, and the long follow up which he drove forward, crystallised the disparate thinking of the day in a manner which has probably been passed on to the present generation of researchers.

Paul’s lasting gift was his ability to imagine new scientific stories or hypothesis. More than this, he was able to help the rest of us to hesitate briefly from our toils in the lab, long enough at least to construct joined up, logical explanations which we could actually defend and test.

Paul Byers was one of the last Gentlemen Scientists, he contributed equally to our understanding of joint disease and to the international standing of the Institute he loved. He died after a short illness on 8th October 2012 leaving his wife Margaret and many, many scientific stories.

Dr Paul Byers 3rd July 1922 – 8th October 2012.

RAB; 12.11.12.

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Professor Allen Goodship's retirement

17th October, 2012

Professor Gordon Blunn writes:

On Thursday the 4th October 2012, Allen Goodship and his wife Dawn celebrated his career with a retirement party held in UCL's Jeremy Bentham Rooms and North Cloisters. Over 90 of Professor Goodship’s current and former colleagues attended the reception.

Professor Goodship's retirement

Allen has retired as Director and Head of the UCL Institute of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Science (IOMS), the position that he has held for the last 11 years. He qualified originally from the University of Bristol in Veterinary Science. After a very brief period in clinical practice in Somerset he returned to the University of Bristol and carried out a PHD; this was supervised by Professor Lanyon and was on Biomechanics and Functional Adaption of Bone. Following a short post-doctoral position at Bristol where he spent some time in the USA visiting Professor Eric Radian’s lab in Clemson he was appointed as lecturer in anatomy and, later, Reader Professor and Head of the Department of Anatomy. At Bristol he worked with Professor John Kenwright from the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, University of Oxford, on fracture mechanics; enhancing fracture healing by mechanically stimulating fracture repair. The technique that he developed was translated into clinical practice where it is still used to treat difficult fractures of the long bones. He remained in Bristol until 1996 when he left to take a joint position at the Royal Veterinary College and UCL IOMS. In 2000 he was appointed Director and Head of the Institute.

His career and retirement was celebrated by a reception and dinner. During the dinner, short informal speeches were given - by Professor Malcolm Grant, Professor Eric Radin, Professor Lance Lanyon, Professor John Kenwright and Professor Noel Fitzpatrick. 

His main research interests have been on the functional adaption and mechanobiology of musculoskeletal tissues, particularly bone and tendon. Recently his research has been directed towards the interactions between the chemistry, material properties of skeletal tissue matrices  and structural architecture of skeletal  systems. He has supervised over 30 PhD students and has published over 180 peer-reviewed articles. 

His outstanding contribution to the field of musculoskeletal research has been recognised in his appointments as President of the International Research Society of Repair and President of the British Orthopaedic Research Society. He was also elected a Companion Fellow of the British Orthopaedic Association. Although he has retired as Head of Orthopaedics, he is returning on a half-time appointment to UCL and continues to be research active: he has recently been awarded an MRC grant as a co-investigator with Professor Anthony Hollander at the University of Bristol to look at cell bandages for enhancing the integration of tissue engineered cartilage in repair of cartilage defects in synovial joints.

Professor Goodship's retirement
Professor Allen Goodship writes:

I should like to thank Gordon, Rachel and Josie for arranging such a spectacular event with friends and colleagues from across my whole academic career. It has been a pleasure and honour to work with such a fantastic group of people and through mutual academic interests form lifelong friendships across the world. I am grateful to those that helped and guided me in my career and hope I have also been able to repay this by doing the same for younger colleagues. The present was also beyond expectations. My best wishes to you all for both your personal futures and those of the Institutions that have supported me. Please keep in touch.

Best wishes,

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IOMS part of a successful £4.3 million grant to put health records at the heart of research

2 August 2012

Nurse with tablet

The UCL Institute of Orthopaedics & Musculoskeletal Science (IOMS) is part of a new e-health research Centre of Excellence led by UCL which is being established following a £4.3 million award.

The project will combine electronic health records with other forms of research data to unlock better healthcare, both for individuals and the wider population.

The Centre, one of four being established in the UK, is part of a £19 million investment by a consortium of 10 UK government and charity funders led by the Medical Research Council (MRC). The funding was announced today by the Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts.

The London Centre is a partnership between UCL, UCL Partners, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Queen Mary, University of London and the Health Protection Agency. It will be known as the Centre for Health service and Academic Partnership in Translational E-Health Research (CHAPTER) and will open later this year.

CHAPTER aims to harness the wealth of data found in UK electronic health records to improve patient care and public health. Along with the E-Health Research Initiative funding, UCL will commit a further £4 million to CHAPTER, providing six academic posts and associated costs. Andy Goldberg at IOMS will be a lead on the musculoskeletal component of the research looking at important conditions such as joint replacement in arthritis, as well as prevention and treatment strategies for osteoporosis.

Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts said: “Thanks to the NHS and the UK’s world-leading research base, we are uniquely positioned to use patient data to study disease and develop better treatments. The e-health centres are the first of their kind and have the potential to revolutionise health research. They will provide a vital insight into conditions affecting millions of people and ultimately bring benefits for patients.”


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