Muhammad Farooq Rai, PhD
Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery
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Washington University in St. Louis (WU)
I am a molecular biologist trained in musculoskeletal research, with a focus on understanding the early molecular events that occur in musculoskeletal tissues following injury. Evidence suggests that injury to knee meniscus is associated with an elevated risk for development of osteoarthritis, which affects over 30 million people in the United States. Meniscus injuries are very frequent injury types and are often treated with surgery with annually 690,000 partial meniscectomies being performed in the U.S. It is estimated that 50% of the patients with meniscus injury develop osteoarthritis within 10–20 years. However, it is likely the molecular changes leading to osteoarthritis begin early in that timeframe. Therefore, we seek to answer a critical question: how do molecular degradation and osteoarthritis biomarkers relate to and reflect the status of the knee in patients with an injured meniscus. These findings will help understand early initiation and progression of degenerative changes in the knee joint.