World-class Shoulder Biomechanics Lab at MQ Health

  • March 19, 2021
  • Elbow
  • Shoulder

Dr Sumit Raniga is a subspecialist orthopaedic shoulder and elbow surgeon scientist who has recently joined MQ Health on a full-time basis after completing three years of dedicated clinical and research fellowships in world-renowned centres of excellence in shoulder and elbow surgery.

He is the first Fellow of the Royal Australian College of Surgeon’s to complete a one-year fellowship at the world-famous Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, at the Bern University Hospital in Switzerland, where he was awarded the prestigious Charles S. Neer Award in 2016 by the American Shoulder and Elbow Society for his contribution to shoulder research.

With a background in molecular medicine as well as biomechanical research, Dr Raniga joined MQ Health with a vision to develop a world-class orthopaedic research program that focuses on basic scientific research that improves prosthesis design, surgical techniques and rehabilitation to improve patient outcomes. To this end, Dr Raniga submitted a detailed proposal outlining his vision of developing an MQ Health Translational Shoulder Program and has recently been awarded a research grant of $330,000 to build Asia-Pacific’s first six degree of freedom, eight muscle actuated, cadaveric shoulder simulator. A further $274,000 investment by Macquarie University will go towards developing a program in orthopaedic research.

This funding has allowed the assembly of a multidisciplinary team that enables an intensive collaboration between academic shoulder surgeons, radiologists, physiotherapists, biomechanical engineers, basic scientists and industry to improve patient outcomes through translational orthopaedic research. This lab is a catalyst for a broader integrated Macquarie University Clinical Research Program that encompasses clinical practice, research and teaching, spanning multiple faculties and technical disciplines.

“The new shoulder biomechanics lab and research program will have a strong focus on improving patient outcomes through evidence-based evolution of all aspects of shoulder surgery and rehabilitation,” explained Dr Sumit Raniga, who will direct this new world-class facility. “The first phase of our research program involves building the most advanced Cadaveric Shoulder Simulator to allow innovative biomechanical implant testing and development of improved surgical techniques.

“Associate Professor Louis Ferreira – a world-renowned expert in shoulder biomechanics and mechatronics from the Roth McFarlane Hand and Upper Limb Centre in Canada – has arrived to support and help build this unique shoulder simulator.

“We have also hired two full-time researchers to help us achieve our research goals and drive innovation to improve patient outcomes. We are also in the process of engaging more undergraduate and postgraduate (Masters and PhD) engineering students and training surgeons with an interest in biomechanical research.”

The MQ Health Translational Shoulder Program will have multiple chapters of research. These will include arthroplasty design and accuracy of implantation, 3D computer modelling of abnormal and normal anatomy, advanced radiological imaging, advancement of shoulder rehabilitation as well as developing novel molecular therapies for some shoulder conditions.

During the first year, researchers will complete 3D computer modelling studies of normal and pathological shoulders to better understand variations in scapular and humeral anatomy that can lead to different shoulder pathologies with a focus on improved implant design. They will also build the cadaveric simulator and start biomechanical testing using the custom-designed simulator to enhance and improve the process of implant design and long-term survivorship and functionality. The Shoulder Program will also explore the use of robotics and other advanced methods for improving the accuracy and reliability of joint replacement surgery – including the assessment of augmented reality platforms.

“The new laboratory and shoulder program are aligned with the MQ Health model of ‘heal, learn, discover,’ and will see research translated into clinical practice, and allow the next generation of surgeons involved in innovation through basic sciences research,” said Dr Raniga. “With this grant we will be in position to develop a centre of excellence in shoulder research.”

Brenton Hamdorf, Director of Academic and Research Partnerships at MQ Health, said that the program was an outstanding example of MQ Health’s core goals.

“It is through collaborations with exceptional companies like Mathys, in this instance, and with proactive clinicians like Dr Raniga that dramatic improvements in patient outcomes can be achieved,” he said.” Such progress is built on rigorous scientific and clinical evidence, strong partnerships and the commitment and focus of everyone involved. It is a very exciting opportunity and I look forward to the continued growth and expansion of biomechanics at Macquarie University.”

Professor Patrick McNeil, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Medicine and Health) said: “This initiative is a great example of the values of MQ Health in action – ambition, innovation, and engagement – where partnering with industry and with other Faculties increases the power of the research we do.”

MQ HEALTH TRANSLATIONAL SHOULDER PROGRAM The MQ Health Translational Shoulder Program is a true multidisciplinary effort to improve patient outcomes through collaborative basic sciences research. The team is made up of: Back row from left to right: Dr Brenton Hamdorf (Academic and Research Partnerships), Professor Desmond Bokor (Shoulder Surgeon), Dr Janos Tomka (Anatomy and Surgical Skills Coordinator), Associate Professor Richard Appleyard (Biomechanical Engineer), and Mr Robert Potra (Biomechanical Engineering Intern). Front row from left to right: Associate Professor Andrew Hirschhorn (Head of Department of Physiotherapy), Associate Professor Louis Ferreira (Lead Shoulder Biomechanical Engineer Roth MacFarlane Hand and Upper Limb Center, Canada), Dr Sumit Raniga (Head of the MQ Health Translational Shoulder Research Program), Mr David Axford (Biomechanical Engineer), Dr Joseph Cadman (Biomechanical Engineer), and Dr John Read (Musculoskeletal Radiologist). Absent: Dr Dane Turner (Biomechanical Engineer) Overseas collaborators include Professor Matthias Zumstein (Bern University Hospital, Switzerland) and Professor George Athwal (Roth MacFarlane Hand and Upper Limb Center, Canada).

MQ Health Shoulder and Elbow Clinic,
Suite 303, Level 3,
2 Technology Place,
Macquarie University
NSW 2109
Australia

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