U-M receives grant for musculoskeletal collaboration, research

August 31, 2016  //  FOUND IN: News,

U-M was recently awarded a $3.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to strengthen its existing musculoskeletal health research program by accelerating new cross-disciplinary research throughout the university.

The grant is awarded to a small number of U.S. institutions where a number of investigators from different disciplines focus on a common research problem.

The cross-disciplinary research will happen through the new Michigan Integrative Musculoskeletal Health Core Center (MiMHC).

“The MiMHC was structured to accelerate science and innovation at U-M around understanding mechanisms of musculoskeletal health, injury and disease across the lifespan,” said Karl Jepsen, Ph.D., professor and associate chair of research of orthopaedic surgery and director for the MiMHC.

He added: “This grant enabled us to establish the MiMHC and will give our researchers the ability to break down silos within the various disciplines, while encouraging research targeting interactions across musculoskeletal tissue types, such as bone, muscle, tendon, ligament and cartilage.”

The MiMHC has three goals:

  • To enable center investigators to conduct scientific research from the molecular level to the organ/functional level
  • To create new opportunities for collaboration, training and mentorship
  • To promote opportunities for novel and emerging science by focusing on research between basic scientists and clinicians, studies on sex-specific differences and interactions among tissues.

Sixty faculty members from seven schools across U-M will comprise the MiMHC research community, including the Medical School, School of Dentistry, College of Engineering, School of Kinesiology, Life Sciences Institute, School of Public Health and College of Literature, Science and the Arts.

“We really want fellow researchers across campus to get to know each other and enhance collaborations,” Jepsen said.

Examples of cross-discipline research within the MiMHC include investigators in obstetrics and gynecology collaborating with an orthopaedics researcher to understand muscle stretch and function of the pelvic floor during vaginal birth, as well as investigators in orthopaedics, anatomy, anthropology and engineering collaborating together to understand ACL injuries.

“This is an exciting time for those of us in musculoskeletal research,” Jepsen said. “Greater interactions between basic scientists and clinicians are important to the future of medicine and the care we will be able to provide to patients in the years to come.”