The overall research of the lab focuses on a systems integration approach to musculoskeletal disease and regenerative engineering by applying novel imaging and engineering approaches to mechanistic biology problems. Our current work has three main thrusts: (i) cell and biologic therapies for the healing of large bone and muscle defects, (ii) multi-scale mechanical regulation of bone regeneration, (iii) intra-articular therapeutic delivery for post-traumatic osteoarthritis. Combining backgrounds in mechanical engineering, vascular biology and musculoskeletal tissue regeneration, our research integrates mechanics principles and analytical tools with molecular biology techniques to uniquely address challenges of musculoskeletal disease and regeneration.
Cleft and craniofacial disorders are my primary clinical and basic research interests. Even though the surgical repair of cleft lip and palate is highly effective, patients will continue to be faced with ongoing medical, dental, and surgical care. Surgical outcomes can be variable, and the patient's facial growth and development is primarily the result of their genetic composition. Therefore, much of my research focuses on the problems that can develop during the years that follow surgery.
Neuroimaging, neurostimulation, rehabilitation, neural plasticity, motor learning, stroke
My research interests are centered on understanding the adaptive capacity of the human nervous system in order to create innovative rehabilitation interventions to ameliorate disability and improve quality of life for individuals with neurologic impairment. My research laboratory is focused on translational neurorehabilitation in a highly collaborative atmosphere. Transdisciplinary collaborations are embraced at every opportunity in an effort to inform our work and contribute to the activities of other scientists. I also see these collaborations as a fertile training ground for students in the lab that come from neuroscience, medicine, biomedical engineering, physical therapy, computer science, etc.
Dr. Robertson received his MD and PhD from Georgetown University. He then completed a general surgery internship at Milton S. Hershey Medical Center at The Pennsylvania State University before an orthopedic surgery research fellowship from Brigham and Women's Hospital and a Harvard combined orthopedic residency from Harvard Medical School. After Harvard, Dr. Robertson went to Johns Hopkins Hospital for radiology residency. He then completed a musculoskeletal radiology fellowship from Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at Washington University. Before joining the faculty at Emory University Hospital in 2010 as an Acting Professor of Radiology, Dr. Robertson was an Associate Professor in the Departments of Radiology and Bio-Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. He was also founding President of the private practice Foundation Radiology Group in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
My main research interest is the biological role of mRNA transport and local translation in neurons and their dysfunction in neurological diseases. Our emphasis is on the axonal function of the spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) disease protein SMN and the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) disease protein TDP-43 in motor neurons. SMA results from reduced levels of the survival of motor neuron (SMN) protein, which has a well characterized function in spliceosomal small nuclear ribonucleoprotein assembly. ALS is characterized by cytoplasmic inclusions containing the RNA-binding protein TDP-43, and mutations in the gene encoding TDP-43 have been directly linked to the development of the disease. Currently, it is not understood how deficiency in proteins with a housekeeping function in RNA metabolism leads to the selective degeneration of motor neurons.
Dr. Waller's research focus is in enhancing immune reconstitution after stem cell transplant and developing cell therapy for anti-tumor immunology and in regenerative medicine. His current research activities include pre-clinical and clinical studies focused on the role of donor immune cells in optimizing anti-tumor immunity after allogenic transplantation, and the clinical application of autologous CD34+ cells in improving vascular function and facilitating neo-angiogenesis in patients with peripheral and coronary vascular disease. His NIH-funded basic research lab uses mouse models and performs immunological analyses of clinical samples from patients. He has active translational research activities and serves as a principal investigator on institutional and national cooperative group clinical trials.