Skip to main content

Center for Musculoskeletal Research (CMSR)



  • Robert Sah, M.D., Professor of Bioengineering and Orthopedic Surgery

The mission of the IEM Center for Musculoskeletal Research (CMSR) is to synergize the expertise in musculoskeletal research within the San Diego community and to translate it into improved treatment of musculoskeletal diseases. The CMSR will bring together scientists, engineers, and clinicians in the UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering, UCSD Health Sciences, neighboring research institutes and industry to elucidate mechanisms of pathogenesis of musculoskeletal disease, create innovative technology for cutting-edge musculoskeletal research, and develop novel strategies to improve diagnosis, treatment and prevention of musculoskeletal diseases. The CMSR has an excellent cross-Departmental structure, with members from UCSD Departments of Bioengineering, Medicine, Orthopaedic Surgery, Radiology, and Surgery, as well as neighboring institutions; these members have a track record of strong interdisciplinary collaboration in musculoskeletal science, engineering and diseases. This Center harnesses the multitude of strengths that exist on La Jolla Mesa and provides a synergistic and entrepreneurial environment for creating new knowledge and solving challenging problems.

Figure 1: A laser optical instrument (left) that creates a diffraction pattern from a skeletal muscle (middle) is used to derive the striation pattern of the muscle (right). This method is used to define optimal reattachment lengths for muscle in hand surgery.

Figure 2: Effects of Degeneration on Cartilage Deformation: Cartilage tissue undergoes shear deformation in motion. The bottom long figures show the deformation of normal and degenerated.

The CMSR has defined six focus disciplines, all of which are applicable to cartilage, intervertebral disc, muscle, ligament, tendon, and bone.

  • Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine
  • Multi-Scale Biomechanics & Mechanobiology
  • Intraoperative Devices
  • Imaging
  • Systems Biology & Modeling
  • Translational Research

The research on biomedical science and engineering of the musculoskeletal system has direct and future applications to treating such ailments as joint injury, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, muscle strains, low back pain, scoliosis, and osteoarthritis.

The CMSR facilitates research training of the next-generation scientists, engineers, and physicians. Advanced trainees will be invited to participate in CMSR-sponsored Professional Courses, Workshops, and Conferences. The CMSR will assist early-stage researchers gain entry into the research environment, and also laboratories who are interested in recruiting researchers.

The Center has established academic and clinical partnerships with outstanding institutions in the United States and worldwide (e.g., Canada, Hungary, India, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden, and Switzerland). CMSR’s excellent industrial partners include Allergan, Inc., Mainstay Medical, DuPuy and Medtronic.

CMSR Members 

View all researchers associated with CMSR here