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Michael J. Yaszemski

Michael Yaszemski serves as the John and Posy Krehbiel Endowed Professor of Orthopedic Surgery and Biomedical Engineering at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, and as deputy director with the Mayo Clinic's Center for Regenerative Medicine, in Rochester, MN. He supports a spine surgery practice at Mayo and routinely cares for patients who have skeletal defects that require reconstruction. His clinical practice includes spinal surgery and oncologic surgery of the spine, sacrum and pelvis.

As director of the Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials Laboratory at Mayo, Yaszemski's research focuses upon the development of biodegradable scaffold polymers to support bone regeneration and spinal cord regeneration using tissue engineering strategies. His focus areas include:

  • Biodegradable polymers
  • Bone tissue engineering
  • Spinal cord regeneration
  • Nerve tissue engineering
  • Sarcoma cell and molecular biology

Dr. Yaszemski's long-term research goal is to change the way that many common debilitating, life-threatening musculoskeletal conditions are treated. The use of biodegradable polymers in bone tissue engineering will be significant to patients with spine instability or spinal cord injuries.

Dr. Yaszemski has received numerous awards during his career. In 2016, he was elected to the National Academy of Medicine, one of the highest honors in medicine in recognition of his outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service.

In 2013, he received the William W. Tipton, Jr. M.D. Leadership Award, the highest award given annually by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. He organized the musculoskeletal tissue engineering study section at the National Institutes of Health, and served as its first chair. He has also served as a member of the Advisory Council of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, and a four-year term of service on the Advisory Council of the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases begins in January 2017.

Dr. Yaszemski is deputy editor of the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research-Part A, has chaired the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Devices Advisory panel, and is a member of the FDA Science Board. He also serves on Mayo Clinic's M.D./Ph.D. Committee, and has mentored more than 200 Ph.D. and M.D.-Ph.D. students, spine surgery and musculoskeletal oncology clinical fellows, medical students, undergraduate students, international visiting predoctoral students, visiting scientists and postdoctoral research fellows.

Yaszemski is a retired U.S. Air Force brigadier general and served in Afghanistan and Iraq. He earned his medical degree at Georgetown University School of Medicine and completed orthopedic surgery residency at Wilford Hall Medical Center at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. He performed fellowship training in spine surgery and orthopedic oncology at Harvard Medical School while on active duty as an Air Force Institute of Technology student. He completed a doctorate degree in chemical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and received bachelor's and master's degrees in chemical engineering from Lehigh University.

Yaszemski, who also served as offensive tackle on the Lehigh football team, is a current member of the Lehigh University Board of Trustees.