Dr. van Wijnen's research team at Mayo Clinic investigates tissue engineering. Expanding the use of tissue engineering applications

Led by Dr. van Wijnen, an orthopedic surgeon, the research team is working to improve clinical standards of care in orthopedic repair, restoration and rejuvenation of the skeleton related to injury, chronic degeneration, genetic dysfunction and cancer.


The Stem Cell Therapy and Skeletal Regeneration Laboratory of Andre J. van Wijnen, Ph.D., aims to improve clinical outcomes for patients with musculoskeletal disorders.

Dr. van Wijnen's research lab designs and validates molecular strategies for therapeutic applications that stimulate the differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells into the four principal tissues of the human joint — bone, cartilage, ligament and tendon.

Musculoskeletal disease research

Specific areas of research interest in Dr. van Wijnen's lab include:

  • Stem cell therapeutics for musculoskeletal diseases. Ongoing studies are investigating methods to enhance the regenerative capacity of stem cells for use in a clinical setting of cartilage and bone repair. Read more.
  • Molecular phenotyping of musculoskeletal tissues and diseases. The lab is using next-generation RNA sequencing to characterize musculoskeletal tissues and diseases and to identify novel therapeutic targets. Read more.
  • Joint preservation and regeneration and orthopedic implant enhancement. Dr. van Wijnen's team is developing novel strategies for cartilage regeneration and repair to reverse the effects of joint degeneration and to stop disease progression. The lab also is studying ways to improve osseointegration of metallic orthopedic implants that are used in joint reconstruction surgeries. Read more.
  • Molecular control of skeletal development and bone formation. Research in the lab is also helping clarify the role of epigenetic mechanisms in bone formation and maintenance to better treat bone disorders. Read more.

The Stem Cell Therapy and Skeletal Regeneration Lab uses models to characterize and develop therapeutic options for musculoskeletal diseases. Disease states are assessed initially by high-throughput RNA-sequencing analysis. Novel therapeutic interventions are then tested in short- and long-term in vitro and in vivo models.

About Dr. van Wijnen

Dr. van Wijnen is a professor of orthopedics and of biochemistry and molecular biology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science. Dr. van Wijnen and his lab are based at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Dr. van Wijnen's goal is to improve patient care and outcomes by advancing the understanding of human stem cells and expanding the repertoire of tissue-engineering applications for these cells in the orthopedic clinical realm.

Dr. van Wijnen's lab is affiliated with several departments and research labs at Mayo Clinic, including: