Surgeon receives highest honour for research into bone disease
A consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and Professor of Orthopaedics at the University of Sheffield has received a prestigious international honour in recognition of his pioneering research into bone disease.
Professor Mark Wilkinson is one of only two researchers across the UK to be given a 2021 Fellowship Award from the Orthopaedic Research Society of the United States, the world’s largest professional organisation dedicated to musculoskeletal research. The honour is the most prestigious the Society can bestow upon its 5,000 members.
Fellows selected by the Orthopaedic Research Society represent longstanding members of the Society who have demonstrated exemplary service and leadership, substantial achievement, expert knowledge, and significant contributions to the field of musculoskeletal research.
Professor Mark Wilkinson’s pioneering research has played a pivotal role in helping to improve treatments and care for patients with bone and joint diseases, the most common cause of chronic disability worldwide.
Supported by the Mellanby Centre for Musculoskeletal Research, Professor Wilkinson’s research was the first to identify the majority of genetic factors known to cause osteoarthritis and the first to explain the biological mechanisms that lead to joint implant failure. His research has also identified the genetic factors that lead to congenital hip dislocation, a condition when the ball and socket joint of the hip does not properly form in babies and young children.
Most recently he has led on the development and creation of JointCalc, an online tool built using data collected by the National Joint Registry which enables patients and GPs to predict personalised outcomes of joint replacement surgery based on an individual characteristics. The tool has now been accessed in over 110 countries across the world.
The findings of a landmark study which he led, and recently published in The Lancet Rheumatology, were also the first to show that a drug already successfully used to treat osteoporosis could be repurposed to treatosteolysis, the leading cause of joint replacement failure that results in the need to redo the surgery.
Professor Mark Wilkinson said: “I am honoured and delighted to have received this distinguished lifetime award. For the past three decades my research has looked to understand the biology and behaviour of bone and joint disease which has enabled us to make great strides in finding and developing better treatments for these physically weakening and often burdensome conditions. This award is a credit to Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, the University of Sheffield and the many research collaborators I have worked with and excellent recognition of the exceptional clinical and academic facilities we have here in Sheffield. To be recognised by my peers at the highest international level is a huge privilege.”