Orthopedic and Large Animal Surgery, Bone Regrowth and Remodeling
Dr. Carl Kirker-Head is a large animal surgeon, with a musculoskeletal focus, an equine sports medicine expert (tendon, ligament and bone injury and rehabilitation), and professor of large animal surgery at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. As the Marilyn M. Simpson Chair in Equine Medicine, his research and clinical interests range from fracture causation and repair to tendon and ligament rehabilitation to therapeutic farriery. As the director of the Orthopedic Research Laboratory, Dr. Kirker-Head's research interests include bone, tendon, ligament, and cartilage remodeling and regeneration. He also undertakes research on orthopedic device and database development, as well as catheter-based interventions.
Dr. Kirker-Head contributes lecture, small-group and one-on-one teaching on diverse topics ranging from clinical equine unsoundness and surgery to practice management to non-traditional veterinary income supplementation (industry consultant, expert witness, etc). As the International Chair of AOVET, a preeminent educator in veterinary orthopedics, he is heavily involved in improving patient outcomes by developing life-long educational offerings for veterinary orthopedists across the globe.
Dr. Kirker-Head owns and runs a rehabilitation facility for horses recovering from injury and disease in Sturbridge, Massachusetts.
- Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine (Vet MB) - University of Cambridge, England - 1983
- Master of Arts (MA) - University of Cambridge, England - 1984
- American College of Veterinary Surgeons
- European College of Veterinary Surgeons
- Pugliese, B.R., Carballo, C.T., Connolly, K.M., Mazan, M.R., Kirker-Head, C.A. 2020. Effect of Fatigue on Equine Metacarpophalangeal Joint KinematicsâA Single Horse Pilot Study. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science.
- Childs, B.A., Pugliese, B.R., Carballo, C.T., Miranda, D.L., Brainerd, E.L., Kirker-Head, C.A. 2017. Three-dimensional kinematics of the equine metacarpophalangeal joint using x-ray reconstruction of moving morphology - a pilot study. Veterinary and Comparative Orthopaedics and Traumatology.
- Svensson, L.G., Ye, J., Piemonte, T.C., Kirker-Head, C., Leon, M.B., Webb, J.G. 2015. Mitral valve regurgitation and left ventricular dysfunction treatment with an intravalvular spacer. Journal of Cardiac Surgery.
- Liu, F., Ferreira, E., Porter, R.M., Glatt, V., Schinhan, M., Shen, Z., Randolph, M.A., Kirker-Head, C.A., Wehling, C., Vrahas, M.S., Evans, C.H., Wells, J.W. 2015. Rapid and reliable healing of critical size bone defects with genetically modified sheep muscle. European Cells and Materials.
- Bellas, E., Rollins, A., Moreau, J.E., Lo, T., Quinn, K.P., Fourligas, N., Georgakoudi, I., Leisk, G.G., Mazan, M., Thane, K.E., Taeymans, O., Hoffman, A.M., Kaplan, D.L., Kirker-Head, C.A. 2015. Equine model for soft-tissue regeneration. Journal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part B Applied Biomaterials.
- Kirker-Head, C.A., Feldmann, H. 2013. Pharmacotherapy of joint and tendon disease. Equine Sports Medicine and Surgery: Second Edition.
- Bellas, E., Panilaitis, B.J.B., Glettig, D.L., Kirker-Head, C.A., Yoo, J.J., Marra, K.G., Rubin, J.P., Kaplan, D.L. 2013. Sustained volume retention in vivo with adipocyte and lipoaspirate seeded silk scaffolds. Biomaterials.
- Jenner, F., Kirker-Head, C. 2011. Core decompression of the equine navicular bone: An in vitro biomechanical study. Veterinary Surgery.
- Jenner, F., Kirker-Head, C. 2011. Core decompression of the equine navicular bone: An in vivo study in healthy horses. Veterinary Surgery.
- Kirker-Head, C.A., Schwoegler, M. 2010. Farrier services at private equine hospital practices in the USA. Equine Veterinary Education.
- Kirker-Head, C.A., Krane, G. 2010. Farrier services at veterinary teaching hospitals in the USA. Equine Veterinary Education.
- Abuja, G.A., García-López, J.M., Doran, R., Kirker-Head, C.A. 2010. Pararectal Cystotomy for Urolith Removal in Nine Horses. Veterinary Surgery.
- Evans, C.H., Liu, F.-J., Glatt, V., Hoyland, J.A., Kirker-Head, C., Walsh, A., Betz, O., Wells, J.W., Betz, V., Porter, R.M., Saad, F.A., Gerstenfeld, L.C., Einhorn, T.A., Harris, M.B., Vrahas, M.S. 2010. Use of genetically modified muscle and fat grafts to repair defects in bone and cartilage. European Cells and Materials.
- Meinel, L., Betz, O., Fajardo, R., Hofmann, S., Nazarian, A., Cory, E., Hilbe, M., McCool, J., Langer, R., Vunjak-Novakovic, G., Merkle, H.P., Rechenberg, B., Kaplan, D.L., Kirker-Head, C. 2008. Corrigendum to "Silk based biomaterials to heal critical sized femur defects" [Bone 39 (2006) 922-931] (DOI:10.1016/j.bone.2006.04.019). Bone.
- Kirker-Head, C., Karageorgiou, V., Hofmann, S., Fajardo, R., Betz, O., Merkle, H.P., Hilbe, M., von Rechenberg, B., McCool, J., Abrahamsen, L., Nazarian, A., Cory, E., Curtis, M., Kaplan, D., Meinel, L. 2008. Corrigendum to "BMP-silk composite matrices heal critically sized femoral defects" [Bone 41 (2007) 247-255] (DOI:10.1016/j.bone.2007.04.186). Bone.
- Kleine, L.G., Solano, M., Rusckowski, M., Hunt, K.E., Johnson, K.L., Kirker-Head, C.A. 2008. Evaluation of technetium 99mTc-labeled biotin for scintigraphic detection of soft tissue inflammation in horses | Auswertung von szintigraphien nach gabe von technetium 99mTc- gekennzeichnetem biotin zur feststellung von entzÃ¼ndungen der weichteilgewebe bei pferden. Pferdeheilkunde.
- Wang, Y., Rudym, D.D., Walsh, A., Abrahamsen, L., Kim, H.-J., Kim, H.S., Kirker-Head, C., Kaplan, D.L. 2008. In vivo degradation of three-dimensional silk fibroin scaffolds. Biomaterials.
- Kleine, L.G., Solano, M., Rusckowski, M., Hunt, K.E., Johnson, K.L., Kirker-Head, C.A. 2008. Evaluation of technetium Tc 99m-labeled biotin for scintigraphic detection of soft tissue inflammation in horses. American Journal of Veterinary Research.
- Mauney, J.R., Nguyen, T., Gillen, K., Kirker-Head, C., Gimble, J.M., Kaplan, D.L. 2007. Engineering adipose-like tissue in vitro and in vivo utilizing human bone marrow and adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells with silk fibroin 3D scaffolds. Biomaterials.
- Jenei, T.M., García-López, J.M., Provost, P.J., Kirker-Head, C.A. 2007. Surgical management of small intestinal incarceration through the gastrosplenic ligament: 14 Cases (1994-2006). Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Research and Clinical Interests
- Equine athletic injury, including non-adaptive bone disease and repetitive motion injury
- Orthopedic surgery, particularly internal fixation and arthroscopy
- Equine hoof form and function, including therapeutic farriery and laminitis
- The farrier-veterinarian relationship
- Clinical pharmaceuticals
Research Interests by Area
- Stem cell applications for musculoskeletal disease.
Spontaneous Animal Disease Models
- Fracture repair, tendon and ligament injury, stem cell treatment, developmental orthopedic disease, laminitis
Research Interests by Organ System and Disease
Bone and Tissue Repair and Regeneration
- Bone growth, remodeling, repair, inductive and mitotic proteins and bone and soft tissue mechanics, orthopedic device development and testing. Orthopedics; musculoskeletal, implants, bandaging; limb dynamics
Major Specialized EquipmentInstron Model 8511 servohydraulic materials testing device; a Toshiba Aquillon 16 slice CT; a Siemens Symphony 1.5 Tesla MRI; an Hologic QDR4500 DXA scanner; a digital high- resolution gamma camera (IS2 NuCamma Enhanced Technologies, Dallas/Fort Worth, TX); digitized fluoroscopy (Shimadzu RS-110 Remote radiology/fluoroscopy room with UD150L 630MA 50 KW); and a Kistler model Z4852 piezoelectric quartz crystal force plate Gait Analysis System. Video-endoscopy, a high speed treadmill, comprehensive surgical facilities, a media center, and clinical pathology and pathology facilities complement the environment.
- Bone and cartilage growth, remodeling, repair, and grafting
- Bone inductive and mitotic proteins
- Tissue regeneration
- Surgical and other musculo-skeletal disease models
- Musculoskeletal biomechanics
- Ligament and tendon physiology and response to injury
- Orthopedic device development
- Per-cutaneous treatment of cardiac disease; animal models of cardiac disease
- Intervential cardiology
- High-speed treadmill characterization of equine limb motion in the normal and fatigued state. HOSSO, Inc. Determining what abnormal limb motion occurs with onset of muscle fatigue.
- "Soft tissue reconstruction using Silk Biomaterials". Department of Defense/Army/Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine. Seeking ways of improving soft tissue regeneration following injury.
- "XROMM characterization of equine lower limb motion". AERI. Using a novel imaging technology to characterize lower limb motion to within 0.08 mm.
- "Bone Regeneration Via Silk Biomaterials" National Institutes of Health funded. Assessment of natural silk as facilitator of new bone formation and delivery vehicle for bone inducing proteins and bone forming stem cells
Specialized Capabilities or Interests
- Equine musculoskeletal surgery
- Equine general surgery
- Arthroscopic surgery
- Medical device and drug testing
- Disease and injury models
- Advanced imaging modalities, including MRI, CT, DXA, nuclear medicine, XROMM, high-speed video