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Carl A. Kirker-Head - VetMB, MA, DACVS, DECVS

Carl A. Kirker-Head
Marilyn M. Simpson Professor
Director, Orthopedic Research Laboratory
Orthopedic and Large Animal Surgery, Bone Regrowth and Remodeling
General Large Animal Surgery

Campus Phone:



  • Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine (Vet MB) - University of Cambridge, England - 1983
  • Master of Arts (MA) - University of Cambridge, England - 1984

Board Certification

  • American College of Veterinary Surgeons
  • European College of Veterinary Surgeons
  1. Pugliese, B.R., Carballo, C.T., Connolly, K.M., Mazan, M.R., Kirker-Head, C.A. 2020. Effect of Fatigue on Equine Metacarpophalangeal Joint Kinematics—A Single Horse Pilot Study. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Kirker-Head, C.A., Feldmann, H. 2013. Pharmacotherapy of joint and tendon disease. Equine Sports Medicine and Surgery: Second Edition.
  7. 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.
  8. Jenner, F., Kirker-Head, C. 2011. Core decompression of the equine navicular bone: An in vitro biomechanical study. Veterinary Surgery.
  9. Jenner, F., Kirker-Head, C. 2011. Core decompression of the equine navicular bone: An in vivo study in healthy horses. Veterinary Surgery.
  10. Kirker-Head, C.A., Schwoegler, M. 2010. Farrier services at private equine hospital practices in the USA. Equine Veterinary Education.
  11. Kirker-Head, C.A., Krane, G. 2010. Farrier services at veterinary teaching hospitals in the USA. Equine Veterinary Education.
  12. Abuja, G.A., García-López, J.M., Doran, R., Kirker-Head, C.A. 2010. Pararectal Cystotomy for Urolith Removal in Nine Horses. Veterinary Surgery.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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 entzündungen der weichteilgewebe bei pferden. Pferdeheilkunde.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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

Regenerative Medicine
  • 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 Equipment

Instron 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.

Investigative Interests

  • 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

On-Going Studies

  • 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
  • Implantology
  • Medical device and drug testing
  • Disease and injury models
  • Advanced imaging modalities, including MRI, CT, DXA, nuclear medicine, XROMM, high-speed video