International orthopaedic award for equine pioneer


Distinguished Professor Wayne McIlwraith

World-renowned equine surgeon and Massey Adjunct Professor Dr Wayne McIlwraith is the first veterinarian to be recognised with a top honour from the United States Orthopaedic Research Society.

Professor McIlwraith, a Massey University graduate in 1970, is a Distinguished Professor at Colorado State University and director of its Orthopaedic Research Centre.

He has received the society's Marshall R Urist, Medical Doctor Award in recognition of an illustrious career as a surgeon, researcher and educator.

Dr McIlwraith is known for pioneering arthroscopy – minimally invasive joint surgery – in horses and for research in translational medicine that provides insights for human health.

The society's awards committee said his research has had a "profound and lasting impact on our understanding of joint pathology and repair, the development and validation of animal models of joint diseases, surgical technologies, intra-articular therapies, cartilage resurfacing, gene therapy for osteoarthritis, and the use of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine strategies". His research programme is “the epitome of strong translational research".
Dr McIlwraith says he was pleased to see the translational orthopedic research of veterinarains being recognised. "This award is probably the most significant I have received as it is from the principal orthopaedic soceity in the world," says Dr McIlwraith.
Dr McIlwarith’s estimates he has operated on about 14,000 horses since the early 1980s, including some of the world’s most prized horses. He was a consultant to the New Zealand equestrian team for four years, attending Olympics in Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000.

Born in Oamaru, he graduated with a Bachelor of Veterinary Science with distinction and promotes research partnerships with industry through the University’s Equine Partnership for Excellence.

Massey Professor of Equine Clinical Studies Chris Riley says Professor McIlwraith has had an unparalleled career in equine orthopaedic research. “The impact of his work and leadership in the profession, and the equine industry in general, will continue to influence the veterinary profession well into the foreseeable future,” Professor Riley says.

The award was presented at the society's annual meeting in New Orleans.

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