Stavros Thomopoulos


Black Building, Room 1408

Tel(212) 305-5124

Research Interests

Development, structure-function, repair, and regeneration of the tendon-to-bone attachment.

Dr. Thomopoulos studies the development and regeneration of the tendon-to-bone attachment. The attachment of dissimilar materials is a major challenge because of the high levels of localized stress that develop at such interfaces. An effective biologic solution to this problem can be seen at the attachment of tendon (a compliant, structural “soft tissue”) to bone (a stiff, structural “hard tissue”). The enthesis, a transitional tissue that exists between uninjured tendon and bone, is not recreated during healing, so surgical reattachment of these two dissimilar biologic materials often fails (e.g., recurrent tears after rotator cuff repair range from 20% to 94%, depending on the patient population. To develop successful strategies for tendon-to-bone repair, necessary for rotator cuff repair and anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, the Thomopoulos lab seeks to first understand the mechanisms by which the healthy attachment transfers load between tendon and bone, and how cells build a functional attachment during development. In order to achieve these goals, they are focusing on: (I) understanding the structure-function relationships that allow for effective load transfer at the healthy enthesis, (II) determining the biophysical and molecular cues that drive the development of the enthesis, (III) developing regenerative medicine strategies motivated by structure-function and developmental biology results, and (IV) applying these strategies to improve tendon-to-bone healing.

Dr. Thomopoulos holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Columbia University, and Masters of Science degrees in both mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering from the University of Michigan. He completed his doctoral studies in biomedical engineering in 2001 through the University of Michigan. After a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia University in Biomedical Engineering, he started a faculty position at Washington University in 2003. Dr. Thomopoulos joined Columbia University in 2015 as a full professor and the director of the Carroll Laboratories.

Research Experience

  • Graduate research assistant, University of Michigan, 1995-1997
  • Graduate research assistant, University of Pennsylvania, 1998-2001
  • Postdoctoral fellow, Columbia University, 2001-2003


Professional Experience

  • Robert E. Carroll and Jane Chace Carroll Professor, Columbia University, 2017-
  • Professor of Biomechanics (in Orthopaedic Surgery and Biomedical Engineering) (with tenure), Columbia University (New York, NY)
  • Vice Chair for Basic Research, Orthopaedic Surgery, Columbia University, 2015-
  • Director of Robert Carroll & Jane Chace Carroll Laboratories, Orthopaedic Surgery, Columbia University (New York, NY), 2015-
  • Professor of Biomechanics (in Orthopaedic Surgery and Biomedical Engineering), Columbia University, 2015-2016
  • Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery (with tenure), Washington University, 2009-2014
  • Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Washington University, 2003-2009
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Cardiac Tissue Mechanics Laboratory, Biomedical Engineering, Columbia University, 2001-2003

Professional Affiliations

  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 1993-
  • Orthopaedic Research Society, 2002-
  • Biomedical Engineering Society, 2002-
  • American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons, 2007-

Honors & Awards

  • Neer Award for Basic Science Research in the Shoulder (American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons Society), 1999
  • Hughston Award for Basic Science Research (American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine), 1999
  • Y.C. Fung Young Investigator Award (American Society of Mechanical Engineers), 2007
  • Neer Award for Basic Science Research in the Shoulder (American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons Society), 2009
  • Kappa Delta Young Investigator Award (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons), 2009
  • Fellow of The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), 2017
  • Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), 2018
  • Fellow of International Orthopaedic Research (International Combined Orthopaedic Research Societies - ICORS), 2018

Selected Publications

Google Scholar

  • Abraham AC, Shah SA, Golman M, Song L, Li X, Kurtaliaj I, Akbar M, Millar NL, Abu-Amer Y, Galatz LM, Thomopoulos S. Targeting the NF-κB signaling pathway in chronic tendon disease. Science Translational Medicine, 11(481):eaav4319, 2019.
  • Zhu C, Pongkitwitoon S, Qiu J, Thomopoulos S, Xia Y. Design and fabrication of a hierarchically structured scaffold for tendon-to-bone repair. Advanced Materials, 30(16):e1707306, 2018.
  • Shah SA, Kormpakis I, Havlioglu N, Ominsky MS, Galatz LM, Thomopoulos S. Sclerostin antibody treatment enhances tendon-to-bone healing in a rotator cuff animal model. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery [American], 17;99(10):855-864, 2017.
  • Schwartz AG, Galatz LM, Thomopoulos S. Enthesis regeneration: A role for Gli1+ progenitor cells. Development, 144(7):1159-1164, 2017.
  • Killian ML and Thomopoulos S. Scleraxis is required for the development of a functional tendon enthesis. FASEB Journal, 30:301-311, 2016.
  • Deymier-Black A, Pasteris JD, Genin GM, Thomopoulos S. Allometry of the tendon enthesis: mechanisms of load transfer between tendon and bone. Journal of Biomechanical Engineering, 137(11):111005, 2015.
  • Linderman SW, Kormpakis I, Gelberman RH, Birman V, Wegst UGK, Genin GM, Thomopoulos S. Shear lag sutures: Improved suture repair through the use of adhesives. Acta Biomaterialia, 23:229-39, 2015.
  • Shen H, Grimston S, Civitelli R, Thomopoulos S. Deletion of connexin43 in osteoblasts/osteocytes leads to impaired muscle formation in mice. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 30(4):596-605, 2015.
  • Schwartz AG, Long F, Thomopoulos S. Enthesis fibrocartilage cells originate from a population of Hedgehog responsive cells modulated by the loading environment. Development, 142(1):195-206, 2015.
  • Boyle JJ, Kume M, Wyczalkowski MA, Taber LA, Pless RB, Xia Y, Genin GM, Thomopoulos S. Simple and accurate methods for quantifying deformation, disruption, and development in biological tissues. Journal of the Royal Society – Interface, 11(100):20140685, 2014.