A healthy bone and joint system keeps us mobile, and thus plays a pivotal role in maintaining our overall health and well-being. Founded by Mr. J.R. (Bud) McCaig, the McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health is home to a team of basic scientists, clinician researchers, engineers and health system researchers who are working together to enhance the prevention and treatment of bone and joint injuries and diseases, in order to keep people moving. Much of our research is focused on osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis since these conditions pose some of the greatest threats to bone and joint health and rob people of their mobility and ability to live independently. We are pioneers in our multidisciplinary approach to tackling these critical issues.
By working together, we combine our wide-ranging expertise to investigate questions related to all aspects of bone and joint health, from molecules, to cells, to joints, to clinical patient populations. Our vision is a world without arthritis and preventable bone and joint injuries, and we are striving to achieve this goal through excellence in research and education.
The McCaig Institute has 109 faculty members (rheumatologists, orthopaedic surgeons, engineers and researchers), 85 trainees (graduate students, post-doctoral fellows), 50 laboratory personnel (research associates, lab technicians, nurses and LPNs), and 64 office staff (administrative assistants) from 5 different faculties at the University of Calgary and 5 partner institutions (University of Alberta, Oxford University, University of Lethbridge, University of Michigan, and the Institute for Reconstructive Sciences in Medicine). Your interest in who we are and what we do is greatly appreciated.
Our researchers are working to improve the lives of people who suffer from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis as well as other bone and joint conditions and to decrease the number of people who will develop these diseases in the future.
Their work is focused on four specific questions:
For example, Dr. Tannin Schmidt has discovered that the lubricating properties of synovial fluid are altered after joint injury but they recover over time. His team is investigating whether this temporary loss in lubrication is responsible for later development of osteoarthritis, and he is developing ways to maintain joint lubrication in order to potentially avoid disease onset altogether.
Using state-of-the-art MRI and CT imaging, Dr. Steven Boyd and Dr. Jeff Dunn are developing better ways to assess bone and joint health. With a specific focus on increasing image resolution and developing innovative ways to scan the patient (such as in a standing position) these advances will allow us to dramatically increase our ability to detect disease onset earlier. These techniques could dramatically improve the lives of those suffering from bone and joint diseases since data suggests that early detection and intervention has a profound impact on reducing long-term disease progression.
In another lab, Dr. Carolyn Anglin has created an innovative device for use by orthopedic surgeons during total joint replacement. The device allows surgeons to better identify the angle at which the bones are cut. This has significantly improved the precision of these procedures and will likely contribute to increased functionality and longevity of the implant.
Dr. Carolyn Emery has reduced by 40% the occurrence of lower body injuries—a critical contributor to the development of osteoarthritis—in young female soccer players using a new, simple training regime. This research could have a profound effect on reducing the prevalence of this disease in our children.