Our Vision

Perform the best clinically applicable orthopaedic research in the world to improve health care for patients.

Our Mission


  • Design and conduct the highest quality, hypothesis-driven research focused on orthopaedic disorders.


  • Implement a comparative and translational approach to investigations of real life orthopaedic problems to efficiently and comprehensively apply basic science research to clinical situations and optimize the utility of scientific discoveries.


  • Employ a patient-first approach to ensure safety and efficacy in all research. Our mission is best accomplished through a multidisciplinary, multispecies approach by a team of scientists and clinicians dedicated to our center’s goals. We share and disseminate information among investigators; allowing expedient progress toward our ultimate goal of treating, curing and eliminating the common and debilitating orthopaedic diseases that affect millions of patients world-wide.

Training Future Scientists

A major goal of the COL is providing training opportunities for young scientists. Every year the laboratory participates in research training programs that provide these opportunities for interested individuals. We also participate in the research training of the fellows, residents, interns, and students in the College of Veterinary Medicine and School of Medicine. In 2011, three of these individuals completed their graduate degrees (PhD, MS), and student members of the COL team were responsible for 11 award-winning research projects.

Four veterinary orthopaedic images for the COL-UMC

The Comparative Orthopaedic Laboratory is dedicated to the life and memory of Robert B. Gordon. Mr. Gordon, our founder’s grandfather, underwent six joint replacement surgeries during his lifetime in an attempt to treat the severe osteoarthritis in his knees. He lived with constant pain and disability, like so many others with arthritis. This is our motivation for finding better ways to diagnose and treat arthritis. We hope that through working to “find a joint solution” we will one day find a cure for arthritis. Mr. Gordon, and his wife Frances, have made a number of very generous donations to the laboratory throughout the years, and more importantly, have provided love, moral and philosophical support, and encouragement since our inception. Many members of the Gordon family have also provided financial and philosophical support throughout the years, and have recently established the Gordon Family Endowment for Arthritis Research so as to ensure long-term support for the laboratory.