Orthopaedic Surgery » Faculty and Staff » Research Faculty

Research Faculty

Karen Hasty

Karen Hasty, PhD, holds the George Thomas Wilhelm Endowed Professorship in Orthopaedic Surgery within the UT-Campbell Clinic Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Biomedical Engineering and is Director of Basic Research in the Department. Her research is currently funded by grants from the Arthritis Foundation, the Veteran's Administration, and the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Hasty completed her doctorate in Anatomy (1981) studying cartilage regeneration with an Arthritis Foundation fellowship (1985) at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center working on the matrix metalloproteinases involved in joint destruction. Her current research focuses on early diagnosis and treatment of cartilage damage in arthritis using theragnostic nanosomes localizing to damaged cartilage in small animal models and the pathways that function for induction of osteoarthritis with biomechanical stress. In addition, her interests also lie in tissue engineering for clinical orthopaedic applications. A Career Scientist at the VA, Dr. Hasty has been a reviewer for the Journal of Cellular Physiology; Journal of Clinical Investigation; Arthritis and Rheumatism, Journal of Immunology; Journal of Biological Chemistry; Journal of Cell Biology; Matrix; Histochemical Journal and Cartilage and Osteoarthritis for 16 years. She has published more than 82 journal articles, has presented more than 115 abstracts and has written segments in seven books.

Weikuan Gu,

Weikuan Gu, PhD joined the University in 2002. He obtained his PhD in 1994 from Cornell University and completed postdoctoral studies in 1996. Dr. Gu has published 63 peer reviewed publications, eight book chapters, and 43 abstracts/presentations. Dr. Gu recently edited a book named "Gene Discovery for Disease Models" which has been published by Wiley. His research currently focuses on two areas: (a) positional cloning and functional studies of spontaneous mutations of genes in mice using a newly developed integrative strategy, which combines genomic resources and updated biotechnologies, and (b) identification of genetic factors that regulate bone density, bone structure, and susceptibility to arthritis. For characterization of genes involved with bone metabolism, our researchers are using the nanoindentation technology and genetic markers to map the quantitative trait loci (QTL) of bone quality from a mouse F2 population. In arthritis research, he is using the QTL mapping and microarray technology to identify pathways that regulate resistance to the spontaneous arthritis in IL-1ra deficient mice (funded by NIH, collaborating with Dr. J. Stuart at VA Medical Center and Dr. K. Hasty). In addition, he is Director for the DNA Discovery Core of the UTHSC Center of Genomics and Bioinformatics. The core, which services the UT research and education community, has the capacity of high throughput gene expression analysis, genotyping, and mutation/polymorphism screening. Learn more at the Gene Discovery Labexternal link website.

Richard A. Smith

Richard A. Smith, BS, MS, PhD joined the University in 1983 and in 1985 he joined the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery as a Research Associate. In 1997, Dr. Smith became an Assistant Professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. He is currently an Associate Professor and the Graduate Program Director for the Biomedical Engineering and Imaging graduate program at UTHSC.

Dr. Smith holds secondary appointments in Mechanical Engineering and Biology at the University of Memphis. Dr. Smith did his graduate research work in Vertebrate Zoology (Anatomy & Physiology, Masters) and Microbiology and Molecular Cell Science (PhD). Dr. Richard Smith is studying cellular inflammation responses to biomaterial debris, bacterial toxins and tick saliva. He is studying a rabbit model of tendonosis, a mouse model of sickle cell disease and is involved in development of a rabbit bone graft biomaterial preclinical assessment model.

Dr. Smith's current research also focuses on enhanced soft tissue attachment such as the integration of a tendon graft into bone. He is also interested in drug, peptide and hormonal effects on bone mineral density, content and strength. He has published 45 peer review journal articles and has over 80 research presentations at regional, national and international scientific conferences. He is a member of the Orthopaedic Research Society and the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.

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