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Comparative Orthopedics and Regenerative Medicine Lab

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The Comparative Orthopedics and Regenerative Medicine Laboratory at Texas A&M University was founded in 2012, with the specific mission to foster and expand multidisciplinary research of orthopedic disorders and regenerative therapies. The program is highly regarded nationally and internationally.

Ashlee Watts DVM, PhD, DACVS, is director of the lab and an equine orthopedic surgeon in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences.  Her clinical interest in the performance horse is a focus point for the dedicated study of orthopedic diseases and the development of innovative targeted therapeutic measures.  Dr. Watts works with board certified faculty members on the  Equine OrthopedicsEquine Sports Medicine & Imaging and Diagnostic Imaging services at Texas A&M and collaborates with basic scientists and veterinarians throughout the world to advance the field of equine orthopedics and regenerative medicine.  The laboratory is located in the new wing of the Veterinary Medical Research Building, immediately adjacent to the Large Animal Hospital at Texas A&M.

The Comparative Orthopedics and Regenerative Medicine Laboratory serves the equine industry and veterinary community by: engaging in orthopedic and regenerative medicine research with immediate impact to both equine and human athletes; providing guidelines and strategies for management of equine clinical cases through incorporation of innovative regenerative technologies; and educating undergraduate students, veterinary students, veterinary residents, graduate students, and visiting scientists in equine regenerative techniques for orthopedic disease.

Areas of research emphasis include techniques of stem cell isolation and expansion for improved safety of autologous therapy, investigation into the basic mechanisms of stem cell therapy, investigation into novel musculoskeletal therapies for tendon, ligament and bone injury and osteoarthritis prevention. The overriding goal of the laboratory is to provide for the dedicated study of orthopedic diseases and the development of innovative targeted therapeutic measures to treat orthopedic diseases.

Current and Former Lab Members

  • CORML lab manager Hsing Fann and friend.

    CORML lab manager Hsing Fann and friend.

  • PhD student Alexis Mitchell investigating bone turnover in the horse.

    PhD student Alexis Mitchell investigating bone turnover in the horse.

  • Dr. AmandoJo Joswig, a post-doctoral researcher in the lab receiving a $5,000 award for her research from the AAEP Foundation.

    Dr. AmandoJo Joswig, a post-doctoral researcher in the lab receiving a $5,000 award for her research from the AAEP Foundation.

  • Dr. Watts places a bone marrow needle in the sternum of a horsefor stem cell collection.

    Dr. Watts places a bone marrow needle in the sternum of a horsefor stem cell collection

  • Dr. Watts and undergraduate students Andrea Weis, Jenna Bohannan and Jill Palmer.

    Dr. Watts and undergraduate students Andrea Weis, Jenna Bohannan and Jill Palmer.

  • Veterinary student Jessica Xu investigates how “Stemness” affects stem cell function.

    Veterinary student Jessica Xu investigates how “Stemness” affects stem cell function.

  • Veterinary student Taylor Pursell investigates how stem cells affect inflammation within the joint.

    Veterinary student Taylor Pursell investigates how stem cells affect inflammation within the joint.

  • Rachel Brooks, a pre-veterinary Honors student, investigates methods to optimize bone marrow isolation of stem cells.

    Rachel Brooks, a pre-veterinary Honors student, investigates methods to optimize bone marrow isolation of stem cells.

  • DVeterinary student Josh Platt labeling stem cells for in vivo tracking.

    Veterinary student Josh Platt labeling stem cells for in vivo tracking.

  • Veterinary student Dimitrius Washington investigating stem cell response to intra-articular medications.

    Veterinary student Dimitrius Washington investigating stem cell response to intra-articular medications.

  • PhD student Annie Peters investigating joint inflammation.

    PhD student Annie Peters investigating joint inflammation.

  •  PhD student Dr. Sicilia Grady places a needle in the sternum of a horse for bone marrow collection.

    PhD student Dr. Sicilia Grady places a needle in the sternum of a horse for bone marrow collection.