Professor Lawrence Bonassar Selected as an ORS 2021 Fellow

Lawrence Bonassar

Lawrence Bonassar, Daljit S. and Elaine Sarkaria Professor in Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, was selected as an Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS) 2021 Fellow. Bonassar holds a joint appointment between the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Nancy E. and Peter C. Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University.

ORS Fellows are the longstanding members of the ORS who have demonstrated exemplary service and leadership, substantial achievement, expert knowledge, and significant contributions to the ORS, its Governance, and the field of musculoskeletal research.

Bonassar has been an active participant in the ORS for more than 25 years. His group has presented over 175 papers at the meeting. He has served as an abstract reviewer, session chair, track chair, workshop organizer, member of the program committee, chair of the membership committee, and member of the board of directors for the Society.  

The Bonassar Research Group focuses on the regeneration and analysis of musculoskeletal tissues, including bone and cartilage. The approach involves a multidisciplinary strategy using techniques in biomechanics, biomaterials, cell biology, and biochemistry. Applications of this technology include the repair of articular cartilage, intervertebral disc, trachea and craniofacial defects.

Bonassar has made many notable contributions to orthopaedic research over the course of his career. Most recently, a collaboration led by Bonassar developed a new two-step technique to patch herniated discs. The approach uses hyaluronic acid gel to replace the leaked material and a collagen gel to seal the hole, resulting in a “patched” disc that maintains mechanical function and won’t collapse or deteriorate.

Another Cornell University collaboration developed a new type of treatment for osteoarthritis that shows promise for eventual use in humans. The treatment is a synthetic version of a naturally occurring joint lubricant that binds to the surface of cartilage in joints and acts as a cushion during high-impact activities, such as running.

The ORS 2021 Fellowship adds to a number of awards Bonassar has received during his career including the Hansjörg Wyss Research Focus Award, four Cornell College of Engineering Teaching Awards, the Cornell College of Engineering Research Excellence Award, and the Zellman Warhaft Contribution to Diversity Award. He is also a Fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society and the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers.   

Bonassar received his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering and Materials Science Engineering from Johns Hopkins University then went on to pursue his M.S. and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

ORS Fellows will be honored virtually during the Plenary Session to be held Monday, February 15, 2021. 

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