Trifecta of ‘Nobel Prize’ Awards

Farshid Guilak, Ph.D., has won what industry insiders call the Nobel Prize for orthopaedics – and it’s for the third time.

The director of the Research Center at Shriners Hospitals for Children — St. Louis earned this year’s Kappa Delta award from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) as he celebrates five years here.

Dr. Guilak’s first Kappa Delta came in 1998 for the study of cartilage cells and how they respond to stress on the joint. His second came in 2015 for the study of post-traumatic arthritis and the development of therapeutic approaches that target inflammation following injury.

This year’s award comes for Dr. Guilak’s work on cartilage regeneration. He and his team have developed a method to regenerate an entire cartilage surface as a treatment for osteoarthritis and other degenerative joint diseases.

Some who work in Dr. Guilak’s lab said the unprecedented third Kappa Delta is an amazing accomplishment but that the count could be much higher.

“It’s pretty much known that he could win the award every year. He’s that good,” said Kelsey Collins, Ph.D., a post-doctoral fellow and part of Dr. Guilak’s team for the past four years. Collins divides her time between Dr. Guilak’s lab in St. Louis and with her husband in Canada. When given the chance to work with Dr. Guilak and knowing her husband couldn’t give up his job to move to the United States, Collins said the opportunity was too good to pass up.

“No one passes up an opportunity to work with Farsh,” she said.

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