University of Missouri School of Medicine MU Health School of Medicine

Orthopaedic Research


In addition to providing clinical care and teaching future generations of orthopaedic surgeons, our mission is to participate in research that advances our understanding and ability to treat disorders of the spine and extremities.

We work with researchers from other medical disciplines, such as internal medicine, family medicine, and radiology, as well as basic scientists in other fields. We are a collaborator in the University of Missouri's Comparative Orthopaedic Laboratory, exploring new methods to treat the most important musculoskeletal diseases and injuries.

Research Team

Research Faculty

James L. Cook, DVM, PhD

Research Professor
  • DVM (Veterinary Medicine): University of Missouri, Columbia
  • PhD (Pathobiology): University of Missouri, Columbia
  • Diplomate: American College of Veterinary Surgeons

Dr. Cook is the director of the MU Comparative Orthopaedic Laboratory and William C. Allen Endowed Professor for Orthopaedic Surgery. Primary appointment is in Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, joint appointment in College of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, adjunct appointment in Pathobiology and Director of Division of Research for Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.


Ferris Pfeiffer, PhD

Assistant Research Professor
  • PhD: University of Missouri- Columbia, Missouri 2007
    Emphasis in numerical methods, finite element analysis, and biomechanics
    Major: Mechanical Engineering
  • MS: University of Missouri- Columbia, Missouri 2004
    Emphasis in system dynamics and fluid power
    Major: Mechanical Engineering
  • BS: University of Missouri- Columbia, Missouri 2003
    Major: Mechanical Engineering

Dr. Pfeiffer was hired as head of Biomechanics and Bioengineering of the MU Comparative Orthopaedic Laboratory in 2010. In 2012, he was appointed to Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Biological Engineering. His current areas of research include spine and biomechanical studies in Orthopaedics.


Trent Guess, PhD

Associate Professor
  • PhD (Mechanical Engineering): University of Kansas – Lawrence
    Emphasis in Biomechanics
  • MS (Mechanical Engineering): Colorado State University – Fort Collins
  • BS (Mechanical Engineering): University of Kansas – Lawrence

Dr. Guess was recently hired as an Associate Professor with the HealthSouth Professorship at the University of Missouri – Columbia. He has joint appointments with the Departments of Physical Therapy and Orthopaedic Surgery. He also serves as director of the Mizzou Motion Analysis Center.

Research Staff

Kyle Blecha

Kyle Blecha

Sports Medicine Coordinator-DARI Research Specialist
  • MEd: University of Missouri – Columbia
  • BS: California State University, Fresno
  • 2000-2014: Western Michigan University

Tina Chen

Coordinator Protocol Services
  • M. Eng: Cornell University, Biomedical Engineering
  • BS: Cornell University, Biomechanical Engineering
  • 2012-2013: Research Engineer Intern, Hospital for Special Surgery

Lori Clark, RN, BSN

Associate Director, Program/Project Operations
  • BSN: University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing, Columbia MO
  • 2008: In-House Coordinator, Midwest Transplant Network
  • 2006: Hospital & Family Services Coordinator, Midwest Transplant Network
  • 2001: Organ Procurement Coordinator, Midwest Transplant Network
  • 1997: Staff Nurse II, Pediatric ICU, University Hospital
  • 1996: Charge Nurse, Pediatric/Adolescents, Mid-Missouri Mental Health Center

Ms. Clark is responsible for the oversight of human clinical trials.


Stacee Clawson, RN, BSN

Nurse Clinician, Clinical Trials and Compliance
  • BSN: University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing, Columbia MO
  • 2010: Nurse Clinician/Clinical Trials Coordinator – University of Missouri, Division of Diabetes and Endocrinology
  • 2010: Staff Nurse – University of Missouri, Outpatient Surgery
  • 2009: Staff Nurse PRN/Float – Boone Hospital Center (SICU, MICU, NSICU, adult step-down, medical/surgical floors)
  • 2007: Staff Nurse PRN/Float – University of Missouri (SICU, CICU, MNICU, BICU, adult step-down, medical surgical floors)
  • 2004: Staff Nurse – Boone Hospital (SICU)

Ms. Clawson is responsible for research compliance, & clinical trial project management/coordination.


Steve Friedman

Senior Editor
  • BA: Southeast Missouri State University
  • 2011-present: Sr. Editor, MU Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
  • 2006: Editor, MU Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
  • 2003: Senior Information Specialist, University of Missouri Health Care

Mr. Friedman manages the preparation and editing of manuscripts for peer-reviewed journals, grant applications, and various presentations.


Kevin Michael Matz

Office Support Assistant
  • 1991-1992 DePaul University, Chicago - Computer Career Program
  • 1985-1988 Millikin University
  • IBM, Service Request Coordinator, May 2012 to June 2015
  • Camdenton R-III School District, Dispatcher January 1997  to May 2012

Mr. Michael Matz manages enrolled subjects’ schedules for all research team studies and monitors clinical trial revenue.


Troy Pashuck

Research Specialist
  • MD (Medicine): University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
  • BA (Business Administration): University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
  • 2006-2008:  Laboratory Assistant  - University of Florida, College of Medicine

Cameron Purves

Grants and Contracts Specialist
  • BS: University of Missouri – Columbia, General Business
  • 2011-2013: Administrative Assistant for Missouri Orthopaedic Institute
  • 2009-2011: Computer Support Specialist at the Missouri Orthopaedic Institute

Cameron directs the processing of grants and contracts activities and serves as liaison between MU Department of Orthopaedic Surgery researchers and institutional counterparts.

Julie Spier

Julie Spier

Coordinator, Protocol Services
  • March 2007-February 2008 Columbia Public School of Practical Nursing
  • Kanoski Bresney, Legal Assistant, November 2012 to November 2014
  • Orthopedic Center of Illinois, LPN January 2012 to November 2012
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