Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

McKay Orthopaedic Research Laboratory


George R Dodge

faculty photo
Research Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery
Department: Orthopaedic Surgery

Contact information
McKay Orthopaedic Research Laboratory
110A Stemmler Hall
3450 Hamilton Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6081
Office: 215-573-1514
Fax: 215-574-2133
B.S. (Biology)
Asbury College, Wilmore KY, 1974.
B.S. (Biology and Health Science (Public Health))
State University of New York, College at Brockport, 1976.
Ph.D. (Biochemistry and Immunology)
McGill University , 1989.
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Description of Research Expertise

I am an established investigator with a career long commitment to translational musculoskeletal research and in particular research focused on cartilage and chondrocyte biology, extracellular matrix and research related to osteoarthritis. Fundamentally, my research addresses the translational area of degenerative joint diseases and focuses on extracellular matrix, cartilage cell biology, cartilage tissue engineering, and cartilage response to injury. A graduate of McGill University under the mentorship of Professor A. Robin Poole formed a solid basis for a career in studying cartilage and joint-related diseases. I also trained in the labs of recognized leaders in matrix biology (Professors R Iozzo and S Jimenez at Jefferson Medical College) and have continued to work in the area of cartilage biology for more than 25 years. Significant accomplishments include Dodge and Poole being among the first to describe a new approach to use antibodies to degrade fragments of extracellular matrix as biomarkers and to identify arthritic diseases and tissue turnover; an area of study and much interest still today. Additionally, Dodge and Iozzo were the first to characterize a novel and important heparan sulfate proteoglycan, perlecan and were the team that originally identified and characterized the human perlecan gene. This molecule has gone on to be identified as critical to many fundamental processes such as skeletal development, angiogenesis, growth factor deliver, and cartilage homeostasis.

More recently, with a focus on cartilage tissue structure and function paradigms, my work has concentrated on developing innovative technologies of tissue engineering and phenotypically correct models of cartilage-like functional units. My laboratory has been a forerunner in the area of scaffold-free tissue engineering cartilage and recently published a study that clearly demonstrated our novel scaffold-less model can generate functionally relevant cartilage tissue analogs (Mohanraj B et al., J Biomechanics 2014). We have focused over the past several years on developing this platform as a generator of cartilage surrogates which also included novel approaches to grow these tissue surrogates in a pressurized bioreactor delivering a physiologically relevant load. I have combined the experiences of cartilage cell biology and tissue engineering and designed a bioreactor that can deliver physiologically relevant loads and mimic pathological stress or injury on growing cartilage analogs generated from both chondrocytes and stem cells. This provides a physiological-relevant platform to explore the mechanisms of various cell functions and how to control them.

My current goals important to traumatic injuries to cartilage, (i.e., PTOA) which is to identify molecules involved in chondroctye's early response to compressive injury and identify in a high throughput manner, therapeutics targets. A significant advance in the potential to discover therapeutics in this clinical area has been achieved by our success in creating a PTOA injury model platform that was designed to rapidly assess small molecules and drug’s effects on cell after a compressive injury (B Mohanraj et al., OA & Cart 2014).

Complementing molecular and cell biology expertise, my lab has extensive experience incorporating novel imaging approaches into our research including FT-IRIS, MRI, and CT which has direct implications when considering assessing later engineered materials in vivo. We also made a significant advance in the area of imaging as a biomarker, with a study demonstrating in an animal model the use of MRI as a biomarker for early detection of cartilage changes and its ability to detect the progressive damage that occurs over time (Fenty M et al., J Mag Res Imaging 2012). As demonstrated here, I have a broad range of translational orthopaedic based research interests and nurtured innovative collaborations with biologists, engineers and clinicians which have implications in a variety of clinical areas. A cross-disciplinary approach continues to be the cornerstone of my research agenda.

Selected Publications

Johnstone Brian, Alini Mauro, Cucchiarini Magali, Dodge George R, Eglin David, Guilak Farshid, Madry Henning, Mata Alvaro, Mauck Robert L, Semino Carlos E, Stoddart Martin J: Tissue engineering for articular cartilage repair--the state of the art. European Cells & Materials 25: 248-67, 2013.

Gorth Deborah J, Mauck Robert L, Chiaro Joseph A, Mohanraj Bhavana, Hebela Nader M, Dodge George R, Elliott Dawn M, Smith Lachlan J: IL-1ra delivered from poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) microspheres attenuates IL-1β-mediated degradation of nucleus pulposus in vitro. Arthritis Research & Therapy 14(4): R179, Aug 2012.

Erickson Isaac E, Kestle Sydney R, Zellars Kilief H, Dodge George R, Burdick Jason A, Mauck Robert L: Improved cartilage repair via in vitro pre-maturation of MSC-seeded hyaluronic acid hydrogels. Biomedical Materials (Bristol, England) 7(2): 024110, Apr 2012.

Fenty Matthew C, Dodge George R, Kassey Victor Babu, Witschey Walter R T, Borthakur Arijitt, Reddy Ravinder: Quantitative cartilage degeneration associated with spontaneous osteoarthritis in a guinea pig model. Journal of magnetic resonance imaging 35(4): 891-8, Apr 2012.

Matuszewski Paul E, Chen Yi-Ling, Szczesny Spencer E, Lake Spencer P, Elliott Dawn M, Soslowsky Louis J, Dodge George R: Regional variation in human supraspinatus tendon proteoglycans: decorin, biglycan, and aggrecan. Connective tissue research 53(5): 343-8, 2012.

Kim Minwook, Kraft Jeffrey J, Volk Andrew C, Pugarelli Joan, Pleshko Nancy, Dodge George R: Characterization of a cartilage-like engineered biomass using a self-aggregating suspension culture model: molecular composition using FT-IRIS. Journal of orthopaedic research : official publication of the Orthopaedic Research Society 29(12): 1881-7, Dec 2011.

Minwook Kim, Jeffrey J. Kraft, Andrew C. Volk, Joan Pugarelli, Nancy Pleshko, Ph.D., and George R. Dodge : Characterization of a Cartilage-like Engineered Biomass Using a Self Aggregating Suspension Culture Model: Molecular Composition using FT-IRIS Journal of Orthopaedic Research 29(12): 1881-7, Dec 2011.

Smith, LJ; Chiaro,JA; Nerurkar,NL; Cortes, DH; Horava,SD; Hebela, NM; Mauck, RL; Dodge, GR; Elliott, DM.: Nucleus Pulposus Cells Synthesize a Functional Extracellular MAtrix and Respond to Inflammatory Cytokine Challenge Following Long-term Agarose Culture. European Cells and Materials 20(22): 291-301, Nov 2011.

Jinyong Wee, Tariq Rahman, Robert E. Akins, Rahamim Seliktar, David G. Levine, Dean W. Richardson, George R. Dodge, Ahmed M. Thabet, Laurens Holmes and William G. Mackenzie: Using distraction forces to drive an autodistractor during limb lengthening Medical Engineering & Physics 33(8): 1001-7, Oct 2011 Notes: doi:10.1016/j.medengphy.2011.04.002.

George R. Dodge, Ravinder R Regatte, Elizabeth A. Noyszewski, Jeffery O. Hall, Akella V.Sarma, D. Allen Callaway, and Ravinder Reddy.: The Fate of Oral Glucosamine Traced by 13C-labeling in the Dog. Cartilage 2: 279-285, July 2011 Notes:

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Last updated: 07/14/2017
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