Prof. Dr. Stephen Ferguson

Foto Stephen Ferguson

Laboratory for Orthopaedic Technology,
Institute for Biomechanics,
ETH Zurich

Laboratory for Orthopaedic Technology


The focus of our research is the study of the mechanical and biological mechanisms of musculoskeletal disorders and injuries and the use of innovative technologies for their treatment. The challenge presented by an ageing population is highly relevant for the activities of our group, as is the close connection to clinical partners.

Principal thematic focus areas include intervertebral disc degeneration and regeneration, prevention and treatment of spinal fractures, and hip joint pathologies and therapies. Hypotheses on potential mechanical factors in disc degeneration have been evaluated on the tissue, organ and body level. Our group has extensively studied the transport of key solutes through the disc, and the synergistic effect of fluid flow and supplementary electrical and magnetic fields on disc metabolism. We have established a viable whole-organ model to study post-traumatic disc degeneration. On the body scale, we continue to investigate dynamic radiographic methods for measuring normal and pathological spinal motion. Through a combination of simulation and experimental methods, we have made a substantial contribution to knowledge of the patho-mechanism of hip joint degeration following impingement.

For the treatment of spinal disorders, our group has worked closely with materials scientists and industrial partners to explore new textile scaffolds and injectable biomaterials suitable for the support or reconstruction of bone and soft tissue. Several of these concepts have passed the pre-clinical threshold of in vivo proof-of-concept, highlighting our commitment to clinical translation of our research results.

Specific expertises in the group include: large-scale computational simulation of hard and soft tissue biomechanics; novel in vitro testing methods for implants and organs; medical image analysis based on 2D-3D registration; electrospinning for fibrous scaffold production; cell, tissue and organ-scale culture models of disc and related soft tissues; molecular biology and biochemistry assays.