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UNC Department of Orthopaedics is pleased to recognize UNC Professor of Orthopaedics Joseph (“Joe”) M. Hart, PhD, ATC, and UNC Professor of Exercise and Sport Science (EXSS) Brian Pietrosimone, PhD, as Co-PI grant recipients of Arthritis Foundation funding ($200K) to establish an Osteoarthritis (OA) Clinical Trial Network (OACTN) “Clinical Trial Unit” (CTU) at the University of North Carolina. Once established, the UNC-Chapel Hill Collaborative CTU for Musculoskeletal Health will provide institutional infrastructure to support future OA clinical trials at the University as an Arthritis Foundation OACTN member site.

Nationwide, OACTN member institutions work to generate standard protocols and techniques to unify and accelerate collaborative work within their respective CTU network and the broader OA scientific community. At UNC, Drs. Hart and Pietrosimone will lead inter-disciplinary efforts to establish the University’s CTU with the support of two University co-investigators: 1) UNC Professor of Medicine Richard Loeser, MD (Director – UNC Thurston Arthritis Research Center); and 2) UNC Associate Professor of Orthopaedics Jeff Spang, PhD.

Over 20+ years, Dr. Hart has invested his rehabilitative sports medicine expertise in leading orthopaedic surgery clinical research at major academic medical centers. He joined UNC Orthopaedics in early 2022 as the Department’s Vice Chair for Research. Dr. Hart works with inter-disciplinary collaborators across UNC to advance translational sports medicine research that grows the University’s musculoskeletal health and orthopaedic surgery research enterprise.

Dr. Hart stated: “This award advances and reinforces an already strong collaboration between the Arthritis Foundation and UNC-Chapel hill.  UNC’s Osteoarthritis Clinical Trials Unit represents an interdisciplinary collaboration that spans multiple departments, clinics and research centers at UNC and will provide the framework and infrastructure to translate the most innovative and effective therapies to improve outcomes in those suffering from osteoarthritis.”

UNC EXSS MOTION Science Institute Director Dr. Pietrosimone has built a strong record in OA clinical research focused on development of post-traumatic OA following knee injuries, as well as on prevention of post-traumatic OA in individuals who have sustained an anterior cruciate ligament injury. As Co-Director of UNC’s Sports Medicine Institute, Dr. Pietrosimone works in close partnership with UNC’s Division of Sports Medicine (UNC Orthopaedics) to advance clinical research that leads to innovative sports medicine practice at UNC Health for individuals treated and rehabilitated for athletic injuries.

Dr. Pietrosimone stated: “Preventing the development of osteoarthritis in young people who sustain a knee injury is really important for keeping active people active.  We are excited to work with the Arthritis Foundation to incorporate the UNC’s Osteoarthritis Clinical Trials Unit into what we are already doing in the UNC Sports Medicine Institute to prevent osteoarthritis following knee injury.”

PHOTO (L to R): UNC Orthopaedics Vice Chair of Research Joe Hart, PhD / MOTION Science Institute Director Brian Pietrosimone, PhD (UNC Exercise & Sports Science)