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Collaboration with AO Foundation

Balgrist University Hospital and the AO Foundation are entering into a collaboration to create synergies in the areas of research, innovation, and education.

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The common goal is to optimize patient care and treatment outcomes in musculoskeletal diseases and trauma. The collaboration includes two jointly supervised PhD projects that begin in 2023.

With this collaboration, Balgrist University Hospital in Zurich and Davos-based AO Foundation are strengthening preclinical, translational, and clinical research in musculoskeletal medicine. Together with the AO Research Institute, Davos (ARI), the development of innovative and novel treatment methods and implants is being advanced for the benefit of patients. Furthermore, the research projects have the potential to achieve additional advances in surgical education and training.

A complementary win-win situation for patients

AO Executive Director Research and Development and ARI Director Geoff Richards says: "ARI is a research institute with a fully focused multidisciplinary research team on one campus and one of the top in the world when it comes to disc degeneration and regeneration, infection, and musculoskeletal biomechanics – the topics of the joint PhDs. Similarly, Balgrist University Hospital and their research units are very strong in translational sciences. This collaboration is a win-win due to proximity and complement of knowledge within our areas."

Professor Mazda Farshad, MD, Medical Director of Balgrist University Hospital, says: "We focus on translational research. As a leading orthopedic university hospital with an integrated paraplegia center, our physician scientists identify the problems that remain unanswered for patients and answer them together with basic researchers and developers. This fits perfectly with the founding philosophy of the AO. The historically grown research and innovation focuses of Balgrist University Hospital and the AO complement each other, and, when combined, will make Switzerland the country with the highest impact on musculoskeletal medicine."

Two joint PhD projects in 2023

The collaboration has already begun and includes two jointly supervised PhD projects that start in 2023 focusing on research projects at ARI and Balgrist University Hospital. One of the projects is on functionalized annulus fibrosus repair patch to prevent post-surgical disc complication and the other is on patient-specific optimization of spinal fusions using validated computer simulations.

News AO-Foundation

AO Research Institute

For additional information please contact

via Franziska Ingold, Head of Corporate Communications, Balgrist University Hospital
+41 44 386 14 15

via Olga Harrington, Head of Corporate Communications, AO Foundation
+41 79 834 57 42