Roy K. Aaron Professor of Orthopaedics, Professor of Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology and Biotechnology

Roy K. Aaron, M.D. is professor of orthopaedic surgery and professor of molecular pharmacology, physiology and biotechnology. He is Director of the Brown/VA Center for Restorative and Regenerative Medicine and the Brown Program for Recovery from Trauma. Dr. Aaron is also the Director of the Orthopaedic Cell Biology Laboratory and of Clinical Research for the Department.

Dr. Aaron graduated from Lafayette College and SUNY Downstate Medical School. He did an internship in internal medicine at Montefiore Hospital - Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and a year of general surgery residency at the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital, Staten Island, New York. Dr. Aaron completed a surgical research fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, a residency in the Harvard Orthopaedic Program and a fellowship in arthritis surgery at the Robert Brigham Hospital in Boston. He then returned to NIH for three years of research in cartilage biochemistry.

Brown Affiliations

scholarly work

Dyke, J.P., R.K. Aaron. Non-invasive methods of measuring bone blood perfusion. Ann. NY Acad. Sci.1192:95-102; 2010.

Gerin-Lajoie, M., D. McK. Ciombor, W. Warren, R.K. Aaron. Using ambulatory virtual environments for the assessment of functional gait impairment: A proof-of-concept study. Gait and Posture. 31: 533-536; 2010.

Puckett, S., P.P. Lee, D. McK. Ciombor, R.K. Aaron, T. Webster. Nanotextured titanium surfaces for enhancing skin growth on transcutaneous osseointegrated devices. Acta Biomaterialia. 6: 2352-62; 2010.

Bilgen B, Y. Ren, M. Pei, R.K. Aaron, D. McK. Ciombor. CD14-Negative isolation enhances chondrogenesis in synovial fibroblasts. Tissue Eng. 15: 3261-3270; 2009.

Lee, J.H., J. Dyke, D. Ballon, D. McK. Ciombor, M. Rosenwasser, R.K. Aaron. Subchondral fluid dynamics in a model of osteoarthritis: Use of dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage. 17: 1350-1355; 2009.

Lee, J.H., J. Dyke, D. Ballon, D. McK. Ciombor, G. Tung, R.K. Aaron. Assessment of bone perfusion with contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging. Ortho Clin N Am. 40: 249-257; 2009.

Covey, D. C. Born, R.K. Aaron, D. McK. Ciombor, et. al. Regenerative and restorative techniques to treat severe limb trauma orthopaedic war injuries: New developments in treatments and research. AAOS Instructional Course Lectures. 58: 117-129; 2009.

Jaklenec A, A. Hinckfuss, B. Bilgen, D. McK. Ciombor, R.K. Aaron, E. Mathiowitz. Sequential release of bioactive IGF-I and TGF-beta(1) from PLGA microsphere-based scaffolds. Biomaterials.10:1518-25; 2008.

Covey, D. R.K. Aaron, C. Born, J. Calhoun, T. Einhorn, H. Frisch, L. Levin, M. Mazurek, E. Schwartz, J. Wenke, E. Powell. Orthopaedic war injuries from combat casualty care to definitive treatment: a current review of the basic science, clinical advances and research opportunities. AAOS Instructional Course Lectures. 57: 65; 2008.

Aaron, R.K., J. Dyke, D. McK. Ciombor, D. Ballon, J. Lee, E. Jung, G. Tung Perfusion abnormalities in subchondral bone association with marrow edema, osteoarthritis and avascular necrosis. Ann. NY Acad. Sci. 117: 124-137; 2007.

Aaron, R.K. and D. McK. Ciombor. Orthopaedic complications of solid organ transplantation. Surg. Clin. North America. 86: 1237-1255; 2006.

Aaron, R.K. and R. Gray. Osteonecrosis: Etiology, Natural History, Pathophysiology and Diagnosis. In: The Adult Hip, 2nd edition. Eds: J. Callaghan, A. Rosenberg, and H. Rubash. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, PA. v.1 pg 463-476; 2006.

Aaron, R.K., H. Herr, D. McK. Ciombor, L. Hochberg, J. Donoghue, C. Briant, J. Morgan, M. Ehrlich. Horizons in prosthetic development for restoration of limb function. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 14: S198-204: 2006

Paek, H.J., A.B. Campaner, J.L. Kem, L. Golden, R.K. Aaron, D. McK. Ciombor, J. Morgan, M. Lysaght. Microencapsulated cells genetically modified to overexpress human transforming growth factor-beta1: viability and functionality in allogeneic and xenogeneic implant models. Tissue Engin. 12(7): 1733-9; 2006

Aaron, R.K., D. McK. Ciombor, S. Wang. Clinical biophysics: The promotion of skeletal repair by physical forces. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1068: 513-531; 2006

Aaron, R.K., A. Skolnick, S. Reinert, D. McK. Ciombor. Arthroscopic debridement for osteoarthritis of the knee. J. Bone Joint Surg. 88A: 936-943; 2006

Ciombor, D. McK., A Jaklenec, A. Liu, C. Thanos, N. Rahman, P.Weston, R. Aaron, E. Mathiowitz. Encapsulation of BSA using a W/O/O emulsion solvent removal method. J. Microencap. 23 (2): 183-194; 2006

Paek, H.J., A.B. Campaner, J.L. Kim, R.K. Aaron, D. Ciombor, J. Morgan, M. Lysaght. In-vitro characterization of TGFβ1 release from genetically modified fibroblasts in calcium alginate microcapsules. ASAIO. 51: 379-384, 2005.

Aaron, R.K. and M. Bolander (eds.). Physical Regulation of Skeletal Repair. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Chicago, IL. 2005.

Ciombor, D. McK., R.K. Aaron, S. Wang, and B. Simon. Modification of osteoarthritis in the guinea pig – A morphological study. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage. 11: 455-462; 2003.

Lieberman, J., D. Berry, M. Mont, R.K. Aaron, et al. Osteonecrosis of the hip: Management in the 21st century. J. Bone Joint Surg. 84: 834-853; 2002.

Aaron, R.K., S. Wang, and D. McK. Ciombor. Upregulation of basal TGF beta levels coincident with chondrogenesis. Implications for skeletal repair and tissue engineering. J. Orthop. Res. 20: 233-240; 2002.

research overview

Clinical interests center on joint diseases and bone circulation, particularly in OA and osteonecrosis. Recent studies have involved delineating the role of arthroscopy in OA and elucidating the role of bone marrow edema in joint pain. In the laboratory, Dr. Aaron is investigating aspects of the pathophysiology of OA focusing on circulatory disturbances in subchondral bone and the relationship of bone and cartilage abnormalities. He has recently obtained funds for a study of amniotic stem cells for cartilage replacement.

funded research

VA A3772C
Center for Restorative and Regenerative Medicine
The goal of this grant is to develop technologically advanced solutions to functional loss after limb trauma. Approaches include robotic prosthetics, neuro prosthetics interfaces, limb lengthening and tissue engineering.

Department of Defense
Principal Investigator
Engineering Replacement Tissues with Amniotic Stem Cells
Engineering tissues with amniotic stem cells, 3-D matrices, and mechanical strain to repair articular cartilage defects in trauma and arthritis.

Principal Investigator
Physicochemical Signaling in Osteoarthritis
Explores vascular dynamics in subchondral bone in osteoarthritis.

COBRE for Skeletal Health and Repair
The goal of this research is to elucidate cartilage tissue engineering strategies for joint repair by optimizing biochemical and biophysical microenvironment that promotes chondrocyte proliferation and differentiation.

Department of Defense
Principal Investigator
Virtual Reality and Motion Analysis to Characterize Disabilities in Lower Limb Injury
This project will test the hypothesis that the VENLab can characterize gait and movement disabilities due to lower limb injury, and response to treatment in precise, quantitative and relevant ways.

Hermann Foundation
Nanotechnology in Tissue Engineering
Principal Investigator
Support for nanotechnology and nanotextured scaffolds in tissue engineering of articular cartilage.

Department of Defense
Principal Investigator
PTSD in Limb Trauma and Recovery
Coordinated examination of post traumatic stress disorder and limb trauma in wounded Iraq veterans.

Principal Investigator
The Role of Bone Perfusion in the
Progression of Osteoarthritis: Identification of New Mechanisms and Pathways
Quantitative studies of oxygen gradients and pressure in bone marrow edema determined by contrast-enhanced MR imaging.

NIH K24 AR 02128
Principal Investigator
Identification and Treatment of Osteonecrosis of the Hip
This grant developed patient-oriented research methods emphasizing coagulopathies in osteoarthritis and avascular necrosis after corticosteroid use. The benefits of early MRI screening of patients at risk of developing avascular necrosis was established.

Principal Investigator
Determination of Dosimetry and Mechanism of PEMF
This study determines dose effects of electrical exposure as one form of physico-chemical signaling in cartilage and bone formation. It studies the effect of electrical exposure on engineered chondrogenesis.

Principal Investigator
Virtual Immersive Environments and Motion Analysis for Advanced Rehabilitation
$200, 000
Infrastructure support for establishment of gait laboratory.

Brown University Vice Presidential Research Seed Grant
Microsphere Based Drug Delivery Systems and Hydrogels for the Creation
of Cartilage Biocomposites – A Tissue Engineered Solution to Joint Damage
This grant facilitated collaborations between investigators and the Departments of Orthopedics and Bioengineering for the purpose of developing one stage cartilage biocomposite for purposes of transplantation. It utilized polymer-encapsulated growth factors to recapitulate developmental sequences.

NIH R13-AR 050033
Workshop Support Grant
Grant supported the AAOS annual workshop on "Physical Regulation of Skeletal Repair".

Workshop Support Grant
Grant supported the AAOS annual workshop on "Physical Regulation of Skeletal Repair".

Whitaker Foundation
Conference Support Grant
Grant supported the AAOS annual workshop on "Physical Regulation of Skeletal Repair".

AAOS Corporate Relations Advisory Group
Workshop Sponsorship
Grant supported the AAOS annual workshop on "Physical Regulation of Skeletal Repair".

Effects of Chrysalin on Chondrogenic Differentiation of Synovial Cells
This grant funded studies on a novel thrombin peptide for its ability to induce chondrogenic differentiation of synovial cells.

Aircast Foundation-S700
Stimulation of Chondrogenic Differentiation by Polymer-Encapsulated Growth Factors
The goal of this grant is to develop methods for the temporal and spatial release of growth factors to mimic developmental sequence and to stimulate differentiation of precursor cells to chondrocytes.

NIH R01 ES 074042
Principal Investigator
EMF and Early Bone Development
These studies investigated the role of electric and magnetic field exposure as a signaling mechanism stimulating cartilage repair.

Whitaker Foundation
Collaborating Investigator
Modulation of Cell Cycle Growth, Control and Differentiation in a Connective Tissue System by Magnetic and Electric Fields
These studies explored electric and magnetic field effects on chondrocyte differentiation.

Fetzer Institute 852
Principal Investigator
The Stimulation of Chondrogenesis by Electromagnetic Fields
These studies explored electric and magnetic field effects on chondrocyte differentiation.

NIH R15 AR 40382
Hyperbaric O2 on Experimental Endochondral Ossification
Oxygen gradients above the physiologic level were investigated for their effects on cell differentiation in endochondral bone formation.