ORCID Identifier(s)

ORCID 0000-0002-5779-5444

Graduation Semester and Year

Spring 2024



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Engineering



First Advisor

Liping Tang

Second Advisor

Xiankai Sun


Bioengineering has made significant contributions to the treatment of orthopedic injury through interdisciplinary approaches. Central to these advancements are many orthopedic implants, including anchors and joint replacements, which have been designed to restore mobility. Despite their functional efficacy, these products have limited lifespan and are associated with many complications, such as implant-associated infection. The success of implant design and function, both in the short and long term, is paramount for enhancing patient outcomes and overall well-being. Therefore, my thesis work is dedicated to addressing these critical challenges, aiming to maximize their treatment effect while minimizing the implant-associated complications.

Long-term patient functional recovery following glenoid labral tear repair remains poor, because of poor tissue regeneration leading to high rates of shoulder instability, revision surgeries, and early onset of osteoarthritis. Recognizing the potential of our own tissues as the optimal "machinery" for regenerating injured orthopedic tissue, the question arises: Can we regenerate injured tissue by artificially triggering a tissue regeneration process? Can we reduce tissue degeneration, an unwonted consequence due to tissue injury? Here, in Chapter 2, we discover the key players, mast cells, involved in the degeneration of glenoid labral tears following injury and the use of mast cells stabilizer to mitigate labral degeneration. In Chapter 3, we explore the idea of inducing resident progenitor cell responses for accelerated regeneration and functional recovery of injured labrum.

Implant-associated infection poses a common and challenging complication following orthopedic surgery, often necessitating implant removal, an invasive procedure, for accurate diagnosis. To combat this issue, we need to develop a new method capable of noninvasively identifying infection inside the body. To combat the challenge, we create a novel positron emission tomography (PET) D-amino acid (DAA)-based tracers for an early and precise means of infection detection and treatment monitoring, capitalizing on bacteria’s preferential use of DAAs as documented in Chapters 4 and 5. In this work, we demonstrate the use of carbon-11 labeled D-glutamine for the in vivo detection of fungal infection and orthopedic implant infection, also providing a way to measure bacterial response to antibiotic treatment.

These approaches are rooted in the shared goal of improving patient care and quality of life, and ultimately transforming the landscape of orthopedic medicine. This dissertation examines the individual contributions of these projects and the potential they hold to provide a comprehensive solution for improving the treatment for patients with orthopedic-related injury.


Orthopedic, Glenoid Labrum, Mast Cell, Progenitor Cell, Synovium, Implant, Infection, Biofilm, PET Imaging, D-Amino Acid


Amino Acids, Peptides, and Proteins | Analytical, Diagnostic and Therapeutic Techniques and Equipment | Animal Experimentation and Research | Bacterial Infections and Mycoses | Biological Factors | Diagnosis | Infectious Disease | Laboratory and Basic Science Research | Molecular, Cellular, and Tissue Engineering | Orthopedics | Radiology | Sports Medicine | Translational Medical Research


Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Available for download on Friday, May 01, 2026