The American Veterinary Medical Association recently honored Colorado State University veterinarian Dr. Anthony Simon Turner with the Lifetime Excellence in Research Award. The award recognizes achievement in veterinary research.
Turner has been a member of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences faculty since 1977. Using the biological changes in ovariectomized sheep to mimic those seen in postmenopausal women, Turner’s early research studied osteoporosis — decreased bone density — and hot flashes. Osteoporosis, bone density loss and bone fractures are common among the elderly, occurring in about 20 percent of people older than 70.
In 1997, in collaboration with Dr. Clint Rubin, State University of New York, Stony Brook, Turner’s research results gained international attention by showing that the bone density in a sheep’s hind legs increased when they were subjected to a very low force delivered at high frequency. This technology is now available to improve bone density in women.
In other studies in collaboration with human orthopedic surgeons, Turner’s lab pioneered a knee prosthesis designed to replace cancerous bone, providing extra stability compared with traditional implants, minimizing the likelihood of a limb amputation. This custom-fit prosthesis is marketed by an orthopedic company and has been used in more than 400 human patients, giving new hope and an alternative to people facing potential limb amputation.
His current research is studying new surgical techniques for spine fusion, aimed at improving the success rate in humans with low back pain. He is also researching new techniques for rotator cuff surgery.
Turner is a professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences. He is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, is on the review board of the Veterinary Comparative Orthopedics and Traumatology, and is a consultant editor for Veterinary Clinics of North America: Equine Practice. In 2001 he was inducted in the Glover Gallery for distinguished alumni and faculty at CSU.