Doctor in laboratory conducting musculoskeletal research at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children

Sarah M. & Charles E. Seay Center for Musculoskeletal Research

The Sarah M. and Charles E. Seay Center for Musculoskeletal Research conducts groundbreaking investigations regarding molecular genetics, bone osteonecrosis and musculoskeletal infections in pediatric orthopedic conditions.

Our research center is approximately 30,000 square feet and integrates the services and knowledge of investigators from various educational backgrounds, such as orthopedic surgery, biomechanical engineering, genetics, statistics, histology, molecular biology and motion analysis. Our state-of-the-art laboratories allow our researchers and medical staff to better understand and define the causes of these complex orthopedic conditions to bring better treatment plans to our patients.

Divisions & Laboratories

Division of Molecular Genetics

Carol A. Wise, Ph.D., Director
Jonathan Rios, Ph.D., Co-director

We use genomic and other laboratory-based methods to define the causes of pediatric musculoskeletal disorders and to design better treatments. Major areas of investigation include:
  • Developmental Mechanisms of Idiopathic Scoliosis: This program, funded by NICHD P01HD084387, is a collaboration with Dr. Lila Solnica-Krezel, Washington University in St. Louis, and Dr. Nadav Ahituv, University of California, San Francisco. 
  • Molecular Genetics of Idiopathic Clubfoot: We are leading collaborative, large-scale population-based genomic screens to identify genetic determinants of clubfoot in collaboration with other research groups. 
  • G.O.O.D. (Genomics of Orthopaedic Disorders) for Kids Program: This program uses state-of-the-art methods to understand targeted rare musculoskeletal disorders at the molecular level. In particular, we study disorders characterized by failure of certain bones to form or repair properly.
Doctors conducting molecular genetics research in laboratory at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children

Bone Osteonecrosis Research

Harry Kim, M.D., M.S., F.R.C.S.C., Principal Investigator

Our lab is leading the development of new treatment strategies for femoral head osteonecrosis and Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease through basic and translational research. Current areas of investigation include:
  • Elucidating molecular mechanisms leading to chronic inflammation and poor bone healing response (increased bone resorption and decreased new bone formation) following femoral head osteonecrosis. 
  • Development of novel tissue engineering methods to recondition and revitalize the necrotic femoral head.
  • Determining the efficacy of pharmaceutical agents that block interleukin-6 receptor, toll-like receptor-4 and bone resorption for the treatment of femoral head osteonecrosis.
  • Development of advanced MRI for early detection, assessment and follow-up of femoral head osteonecrosis.
Doctor examining slide in laboratory, conducting bone osteonecrosis research at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children

Musculoskeletal Infection Research

Lawson Copley, M.D., Principal Investigator

We study the genomic and virulence factors that cause deep and severely debilitating musculoskeletal infections in children. Major areas of investigation include:
  • Identifying gene expression signatures that correlate with disease severity in children with acute hematogenous osteomyelitis
  • Identifying genomic virulence determinants of Staphylococcus aureus 
  • Leading collaborative studies to establish a mouse model of acute hematogenous osteomyelitis 
  • Defining the bacterial gene expression patterns during the pathogenesis of the infection
  • Investigating cellular effects (hemolysis, neutrophil killing, endothelial uptake or collagen adhesion) of Staphylococcus aureus as a function of virulence capability of the specific isolate
Doctor conducting musculoskeletal infection research in laboratory at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children

Division of Bioengineering and Biomechanics 

The Bioengineering and Biomechanics Division at Scottish Rite Hospital focuses on the design and development of innovative solutions that improve pediatric orthopedic care. The research includes simulating biological systems for the development and testing of devices to treat disorders such as scoliosis and limb deformity. Other projects involve the modification and improvement of surgical implants, therapeutic devices and occupational and rehabilitative aids. Resources include a full machine shop and 3D printer.

The department’s efforts have led to more than 16 U.S. patents and significant developments, such as the TSRH® Spinal System and TRUE/LOK™ External Fixation System. Our small but dedicated staff has played a major role in setting the standard for modern orthopedic care.
Doctors conducting biomechanics research in laboratory at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children

Latest News: Musculoskeletal Research