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Josh Roth, PhD, awarded Pilot Program Funding for Osteoarthritis Research

Josh Roth, PhD, received the UW Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation 2023 Pilot Award for his proposal, “Identifying the biological mechanisms of longitudinal changes in ligament mechanical and sensory function associated with osteoarthritis: A preliminary analysis.”

Sparked by what he describes as the “critical unmet need” for improved understanding of the progressive worsening of ligament dysfunction associated with spontaneous osteoarthritis (OA), Dr. Roth and his team are determined to address this knowledge deficiency through their research – as they believe this lack of understanding often limits the ability of clinicians to personalize OA treatments.

Their long-term goal is to develop and translate personalized treatments for patients with OA across the disease spectrum. As a next step towards this long-term goal, the overall objective of this project is to provide fundamental knowledge of progressive mechanical and sensory dysfunction of the knee ligaments and underlying changes in biomarkers concomitant with OA progression. Their central hypothesis is that intrinsic changes (e.g., ligament stiffness) to the ligament develop before extrinsic anatomic changes (e.g., osteophytes) and can be predicted from biological biomarkers.

The immediate positive impacts of this work include the establishment of a handheld tensiometer – a sensor his team developed to measure ligament tension non-invasively. Their tensiometer is a key tool for longitudinal tracking of ligament function. Further, this research would establish companion canines (i.e., dogs who are pets) as an innovative model for studying changes with OA and future treatments for these changes.

Dr. Roth and his team plan to use the data from this pilot study as crucial supportive data for an NIH R01 application this fall.

For more about Dr. Roth and his work, visit his laboratory website.

UW Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation’s Pilot Award Program supports novel and developing research of department faculty who are early in their professional careers. Targeted research areas that advance the fields of orthopedics and rehabilitation include basic discovery research, patient-based clinical research, patient-centered outcomes research, dissemination and implementation research, and community engagement research.