Our Research Team

Dr. Abdel has assembled a lab team with far-ranging expertise, all committed to deepening scientific knowledge about arthrofibrosis and why it occurs in some patients after total knee arthroplasty.

Learn more about Dr. Abdel and members of his research team.

Matthew P. Abdel, M.D.

Dr. Abdel is the Andrew A. and Mary S. Professor of Orthopedic Surgery and a consultant in hip and knee reconstruction at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Dr. Abdel has received numerous awards for his work, including the Lawrence D. Dorr Surgical Techniques & Technologies Award from the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons (2020, 2019 and 2018); the Otto Aufranc Award from The Hip Society (2017); and the Mark B. Coventry Award from The Knee Society (2019 and 2014). He also received a research grant from the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (2017). Dr. Abdel is a member of the member-only and prestigious The Hip Society and The Knee Society, and he currently serves on the board of directors of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Amel Dudakovic, Ph.D.

Dr. Dudakovic, originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina, is an assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology and an assistant professor of orthopedics at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science. He received a bachelor of science degree in biochemistry from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota in 2005, a doctorate in pharmacology from the University of Iowa in 2010, and extensive postdoctoral training at Mayo Clinic. Dr. Dudakovic's studies are focused on advancing pharmacologic strategies to treat musculoskeletal disorders. Specifically, his studies are aimed at identifying epigenetic events that can be targeted to prevent and treat bone, cartilage and fibrotic conditions. Outside of work, Dr. Dudakovic enjoys spending time with his wife and kids, participating and volunteering in the local community, and savoring a good cup of coffee.

Roman Thaler, Ph.D.

Dr. Thaler, originally from Italy, is a research associate who joined Mayo Clinic in 2014. He is also an instructor in orthopedics at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science in Rochester, Minnesota. He received a master's degree in 2008 and a doctorate in 2011 from the University of Vienna in Austria. His studies investigated the epigenetic mechanisms controlling bone development and the interplay of the collagenous extracellular matrix in these processes. Dr. Thaler has received several honors and awards for his research, including the ASBMR John Haddad Young Investigator Award in 2019, the Mayo Clinic Patrick J. Kelly Research Award in 2017, the ASBMR Harold M. Frost Young Investigator Award in 2016, the Jakob Erdheim Research prize of the Austrian Society for Bone and Mineral Research in 2013 and others. He was also awarded grants from the Center for Regenerative Medicine at Mayo Clinic in 2016 and 2014. Integrating his rich research experience, Dr. Thaler's studies now focus on the elucidation of the cellular, molecular and epigenetic causes controlling arthrofibrosis development.

Harold (Reed) I Salmons IV, M.D.

Dr. Salmons is an orthopedic surgery resident spending a year in Dr. Abdel's lab as a member of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery's master's degree program in orthopedic research. Dr. Salmons is leading a thesis project investigating a new pharmaceutical intervention in rabbit models of arthrofibrosis. Dr. Salmons, who hails from Wilmington, Delaware, earned a B.S. in biological sciences at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where he also played varsity lacrosse and studied acute myeloid leukemia. He went on to spend two years at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia studying the molecular epigenetics of a rare genetic disorder. He then hopped across the Schuylkill River to earn his medical doctorate at Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, where he developed his passion for orthopedic surgery. Dr. Salmons is a lifelong fan of Philadelphia professional sports. When not rooting for a rare Sixers or Eagles playoff run, Dr. Salmons enjoys fly-fishing, hunting, working out, skiing and spending time with his wife, Rae, and their blue heeler dog, Willow.

Afton K. Limberg, B.S.

Afton, a research assistant, is originally from Rochester, Minnesota, but attended Montana State University to obtain her bachelor's degree in chemical engineering. In the lab, she assists with animal management and study data collection and processing. Afton also handles most of the histology for both the animal and human specimens. When not in the lab, she enjoys camping, downhill skiing and running with her dog.

Anne Roesler, B.S.

Anne is a supervisor-senior research technologist. Originally from Caledonia, Minnesota, Anne received a bachelor of science degree in biology-allied health from Winona State University in Minnesota in 2016, and is now obtaining her master of science degree from Winona State in biology and laboratory management. Anne's experience includes research in both the academic and industry setting. She joined Dr. Abdel's lab in December 2020. Outside of work, Anne enjoys hiking, camping, weightlifting and spending time in the outdoors.

Jacob W. Bettencourt, B.S.

Jacob, originally from Mukilteo, Washington, is a research assistant in the lab. He completed his bachelor's degree in cellular biology and neuroscience at Montana State University. In the lab, his primary responsibility is managing arthrofibrotic human tissue collection and processing. He also assists with the characterization of arthrofibrotic and nonarthrofibrotic fibroblastic cell lines and with maintaining mouse colonies. He hopes to continue his education as a physician assistant. Jacob has a passion for the outdoors, especially ice fishing in the winter and paddleboarding with his dog in the summer.

Daniel Karczewski, M.D.

Dr. Karczewski, originally from Berlin, Germany, is a research fellow focusing on clinical and translational projects in the field of arthroplasty. He graduated in 2020 from Charity-University Medicine Berlin and then completed additional medical training at Munich University Clinic, Heidelberg University, University of Zurich, and Brigham and Women's Hospital (Harvard Medical School).

After completing his doctoral thesis about prosthetic joint infections (summa cum laude), Dr. Karczewski began his internship as an orthopedic surgery resident at Charity-University, before joining Dr. Abdel's lab in September 2021.

Dr. Karczewski is an alumnus of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation, has been awarded a number of travel fellowships, and was featured as international resident member of the month by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) in September 2021 for his contribution to research, education and patient care. Among other peer-review activities, Dr. Karczewski has reviewed for Times Higher Education World University Rankings, European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID), Journal of Personalized Medicine, Journal of Clinical Medicine and BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders.

Dr. Karczewski is a fellow of McKinsey Firsthand and Boston Consulting Group Emeralds Talent Program, and he completed additional courses at the London School of Economics. In his free time, Dr. Karczewski is interested in economics and politics.

Lauri J. Louwagie

Lauri, an administrative assistant in the Division of Orthopedic Surgery Research, joined Dr. Abdel's lab in November 2021. Originally from Rochester, Minnesota, Lauri has spent most of her 40 years at Mayo Clinic (although not exclusively) in an administrative assistant role supporting physicians in neurology, laboratory medicine and pathology, and most recently in orthopedic surgery research. She also was an administrative assistant in the Department of Development.

Outside of work, Lauri enjoys time at her cabin, traveling, spending time with her kids, golfing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and water skiing.

Mason F. Carstens, M.S.

Mason is originally from Rochester, Minnesota, and has returned to Mayo Clinic after time away to study. He previously worked as a summer student at Mayo Clinic, where he conducted research in orthopedics and regenerative medicine. Mason attended Creighton University, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in neuroscience and a master of science degree in medical science and clinical anatomy. In Dr. Abdel's lab, Mason contributes to several projects involving the research of arthrofibrosis and related pathologies. He played hockey for Creighton University and continues to play competitively.