As supervisor of the Orthopedic Biomechanics Laboratory at Mayo Clinic, Nathaniel (Nate) A. Bates, Ph.D., looks to drive orthopedic and sports medicine-related investigations as they relate to musculoskeletal injury and repair. Dr. Bates has focused primarily on lower extremity joint mechanics with specialization in the knee and anterior cruciate ligament injuries.
By working with live athletes, deceased donor models and computer simulation models, Dr. Bates aims to enhance the efficacy of screening, prevention and reconstruction methods within sports medicine orthopedics. This goal is achievable through development of novel, clinically relevant models that enhance basic science understanding of mechanical function and whose outcomes can inform clinical trials and clinical practice.
- Anterior cruciate ligament injury prevention. Risk factors that predispose athletes to catastrophic knee injuries have been readily identified. Dr. Bates works to modify these risk factors when possible and reduce the overall injury incidence across athletic populations.
Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. While reconstruction surgery returns some joint stability after a catastrophic knee injury, long-term sequelae are likely to eventually reduce knee quality of life. Dr. Bates works to improve reconstructive options to better restore native tissue function and enhance long-term outcomes. Dr. Bates also works to establish clinical standards of care to deliver optimal rehabilitation protocols to athletes recovering from injury.
See clinical trial.
- Dynamic task simulation. Noncontact mechanisms account for a significant portion of knee injuries and often occur during landings, rapid decelerations or changes of direction. Dr. Bates' work in the Orthopedic Biomechanics Lab at Mayo Clinic aims to quantify the mechanical behaviors of inner joint structures during these tasks that would require highly invasive techniques to examine on live subjects.
- Musculoskeletal modeling development. Dr. Bates has specialized in the development of novel systems, both in vitro and in silico, to reproduce joint behavior with high physiological relevance. These include the replication of recorded joint kinematics, reproducible generation of ligament injuries that match clinical presentation, and investigation of musculature and ground reaction forces on joint loading. This work is in collaboration with Mayo's Materials and Structural Testing Core.
- Neuromuscular control. Motor control of the body originates in the nervous system. Dr. Bates and Nathan D. Schilaty, D.C., Ph.D., investigate the association between this neural control and the prevalence of injury risk factors. Identification of neuromuscular deficits within athletes can be used as a precursor for preventive and rehabilitative interventions and reduction of injury risk.
Significance to patient care
The research performed by Dr. Bates is designed to improve outcomes and quality of life for athlete populations through the prevention of significant musculoskeletal injuries. For athletes who have experienced musculoskeletal injury, the basic science and clinical trial investigations performed by Dr. Bates are intended to enhance reconstructive techniques to better mimic the function of native tissue. These advanced rehabilitative interventions can better restore neuromuscular control and reduce the presence of risk factors once an athlete is cleared for return to sport.
- Postdoctoral fellowship, The Ohio State University, 2014-2015
- Summer fellowship, University Research Council, University of Cincinnati, 2014