Women Leaders

Mary B. Goldring, Hospital for Special Surgery

Mary B. Goldring

Leading Research

Editors’ Note

Mary Goldring, Ph.D. is also Co-Director, Tissue Engineering, Regeneration and Repair Program and Professor of Cell & Developmental Biology with Weill Cornell Medical College and Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences.

Institution Brief

New York-based Hospital for Special Surgery (hss.edu; HSS) is internationally recognized as the leading independent academic medical center specializing in orthopedics, rheumatology, and their related specialties. The hospital pioneered the modern-day total knee replacement and continues to build on its success in all areas of musculoskeletal healthcare, in the advancement of cutting-edge research, and the development of innovative approaches to diagnosis and treatment, all of which contribute to its global leadership. Outstanding results in quality of care and the patient experience have created a growing demand for its services, with people coming to HSS from across the country and throughout the world. HSS is the first hospital in New York State to achieve its fourth consecutive designation as a Magnet® Hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the gold standard for nursing excellence. It is the only hospital in New York State that has maintained a significantly lower infection rate than the state average for hip replacement five years in a row. HSS is the official hospital of the New York Giants, New York Mets, New York Knicks, New York Liberty, and the New York Red Bulls. It is also the official hospital of New York Road Runners for the New York City Marathon. In 2013, HSS was named the first National Medical Center of the United States Olympic Committee’s (USOC) National Medical Network. In this capacity, HSS is an official hospital for U.S. athletes. HSS is also one of only three hospitals in the United States designated as a Medical Center of Excellence by FIFA.

Would you provide an overview of the areas of focus for your research?

My research during the past 30-plus years has focused on the molecules that are produced in the cells of cartilage and other joint tissues, how they are related at the gene and protein level, and how they influence tissue breakdown and repair. My initial approaches early in my career involved studying cells in culture and analyzing the expression of genes and their encoded proteins in cells from joint tissues, skin, and bone (particularly chondrocytes isolated from the cartilage of patients) after treatment with particular disease-associated factors. I decided to create immortal cell lines of human chondrocytes that are used widely in the field and that have permitted us to do detailed analyses of gene regulation and epigenetic status.

Upon joining the research faculty at HSS almost 10 years ago, I was able to take advantage of the outstanding facility for performing in vivo studies using murine models of osteoarthritis applied to genetically modified strains. These enable us to follow the time course of the initiation and progression of osteoarthritis and the impact of modifying specific molecular pathways in ways that cannot be done in humans. We are currently doing extensive genomic profiling of these models over the time course of osteoarthritis. We expect that interrogating our genomic (RNAseq) data against datasets obtained from humans will enable us to understand the impact of the genetic modifications we have made in ways that may lead to targeted therapies for early disease.

Would you highlight the Tissue Engineering, Regeneration and Repair Program at HSS?

The TERR program consists of a multidisciplinary team of investigators with expertise in biomechanics and biomaterials, orthopaedic surgery, and cell, molecular, and developmental biology. Each laboratory within the program consists of a multidisciplinary team of investigators, who carry out basic, applied, and translational research related to joint injury, repair, and reconstruction. In addition to investigating basic cellular and molecular mechanisms of degeneration and healing of orthopedic soft tissues, the TERR program has a strong translational focus with the aim of developing personalized strategies that may be used ultimately by our clinicians to promote tissue repair and reconstruction, and restore joint mobility in their patients.

Would you discuss HSS’ commitment to supporting its scientists and investing in research?

HSS has a long history of supporting musculoskeletal research and has developed a unique research environment that encourages interactions among basic and clinical investigators in both Rheumatology and Orthopaedics. In addition to maintaining a core of senior scientists who are doing cutting-edge research and have long-standing credibility in their respective fields, HSS has created an environment that is attractive for junior and mid-career scientists to develop independence and flourish. There are several examples where this support was critical for getting new recruits or existing young scientists “over the hump” in obtaining grant funding. Evidence of the commitment of HSS in investing in research is also provided by the move of our research labs to the newly renovated HSS Research Institute. This has further encouraged the close interactions among the scientists in the different research programs, as we now have our dedicated conference room for holding cross-program group meetings on Molecular Biology of Bone and Cartilage and Immunology Research-in Progress, in addition to encouraging social interactions.