Colorado State Orthopaedic Research Center Formally Opens Doors with Dedication and Open House on Nov. 1

A formal dedication ceremony, followed by an open house, is set for 2 p.m. on Nov. 1 to launch Colorado State University’s Orthopaedic Research Center on its mission of medical investigations benefiting both animal and human health. The general public is invited to attend the ceremony and, afterward, to enjoy refreshments, tour the facilities and talk with researchers about ongoing projects.

Led by Dr. Wayne McIlwraith and his team of scientists, the Orthopaedic Research Center will continue the same pioneering research it has conducted over the past eight years, advancing medical understanding in the areas of equine and human musculoskeletal disease and treatments.

Located just behind the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital at 2503 Bay Farm Road in Fort Collins, the Orthopaedic Research Center is comprised of the newly constructed Gail Holmes Equine Orthopaedic Research Center, which includes state-of-the-art surgical suite; and the renovated and enlarged Orthopaedic Research Laboratory. (See the attached fact sheets.)

"We finally have the space and facilities to match our knowledge and our goals," McIlwraith said. "This is the culmination of a long-term, ambitious campaign. We’ve worked to build the team talent and the facility that will be able to produce the kind of research results to make life better for horses and people."

Established in 1994, the former Equine Orthopaedic Research Program helped to push forward the scope of investigations already being conducted at Colorado State. Over the years, the staff of faculty researchers and their projects has evolved to include collaborations with veterinarians and scientists across the nation and around the world. Their use of sophisticated techniques and cutting-edge expertise in molecular biology, arthroscopic surgery, biomechanics and biochemistry garnered attention from scientists and knowledgeable horse owners worldwide.

The Orthopaedic Center at Colorado State has developed a reputation for impeccable research and illustrious collaborations, such as the partnership with the Steadman-Hawkins Sports Medicine Clinic in Vail, Colo., which has helped client athletes such as Joe Montana, Monica Seles and Picabo Street. The team is also part of the Equine Global Alliance, which includes veterinary scientists in London, New Zealand and the Netherlands working together to address serious equine health issues.

Research projects currently in progress at the Orthopaedic Research Center include the use of gene therapy to treat arthritis, defining fluid markers that predict orthopaedic disease and the use of computer joint modeling to research fractures and methods of preventing them.

For more information about the Orthopaedic Research Center, contact Katie Ruggle, associate director, at 491-4165.


  • Biomechanics laboratory: includes equipment for the processing and biomechanical testing of tissue, including a mechanical testing system that applies forces to tissue in order to determine its strength. The system can test anything from cadaver limbs to small pieces of tissue, as well as implants and prostheses.
  • Histology and biomaterials laboratory for the preparation and staining of tissue sections, as well as the preparation of material for muscuoloskeletal applications (e.g., surgical implants, prostheses, etc.) including a cryostat for sectioning frozen tissue as well as equipment for preparing and processing paraffin tissues.
  • Image analysis room. Equipment for the analysis of tissues with special imaging techniques includes a fluorescent microscope and two histomorphometry systems: the Bioquant System and the Image Pro-Plus System , for quantitating microscopic changes.
  • Conference room and graduate student work spaces.
  • Molecular biology/Radiobiology room with a Taqman instrument for measuring the DNA expression in tissue or fluid samples and scintillation and gamma counters for radioimmunoassays (measuring radioactive levels in experiments conducted in the laboratory).
  • Orthopaedics laboratory with benches and workspaces for seven researchers and a separate isolated work area for tissue culture.
  • Freezer room to hold multiple -80 C freezers for storage of specimens and a walk-in cold room for working under refrigerated conditions.
  • Darkroom with workbenches for in situ hybridization (molecular signaling of DNA) and with an automated processor for the development of radiographs.
  • Lobby space will house an ultracentrifuge, an icemaker and an autoclave.
  • Staff will include six faculty researchers, 10-18 graduate students and three technicians.