Dr. Stavros Thomopoulos: ASME 2020 Van C. Mow Medal Recipient

January 7, 2020
Portrait of Dr. Stavros Thomopoulos in the Carroll Laboratories
Stavros Thomopoulos, PhD

Columbia Orthopedics is thrilled to announce that Stavros Thomopoulos, PhD will be awarded the 2020 Van C. Mow Medal by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) for his contributions to bioengineering.

ASME Van C. Mow Medal
ASME Van C. Mow Medal

The award was established by ASME’s Bioengineering Division in 2004 and is awarded on a yearly basis. The Van C. Mow Medal is bestowed upon an individual who has demonstrated meritorious contributions to the field of bioengineering through research, education, professional development, leadership in the development of the profession, mentorship to young bioengineers, and with service to the bioengineering community. This award has particular resonance as it connects to Columbia Orthopedics' rich history. Dr. Mow was a former Columbia Orthopedics faculty member, director of the New York Orthpaedic Hospital Research Laboratory, and a pioneering figure in the field who went on to found the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Columbia University.

It is a great honor to receive the Van C. Mow medal from the ASME. This award is particularly meaningful to me because my first research experience in orthopedic biomechanics was with Dr. Mow when I was an undergraduate Mechanical Engineering student at Columbia,” said Dr. Thomopoulos. “In 2015, 20 years after the experience that inspired me to enter this field, I returned to Columbia as the director of the laboratory where it all started.

As Director of the Carroll Laboratories and Vice Chair of Basic Research, Dr. Thomopoulos has helped transform Columbia Othropedics' research enterprise, enhancing basic and translational research through collaboration between engineering faculty and clinical faculty, and expanding facilities for musculoskeletal research. His own groundbreaking research, funded by numerous grants and awards, studies the development, biomechanics, and healing of the tendon-to-bone attachment, with a focus on solving the clinical challenges of repairing torn rotator cuff tendons. Dr. Thomopoulos has published numerous papers and a book, titled Structural Interfaces and Attachments in Biology, on these topics and leads a laboratory that includes trainees at multiple levels (undergraduates, Ph.D. students, post-doctoral fellows, and staff scientists). 


Stavros Thomopoulos, PhD, is the Robert E. Carroll and Jane Chace Carroll Professor of Biomechanics (in Orthopedic Surgery and Biomedical Engineering), the Director of Carroll Laboratories for Orthopedic Surgery, and the Vice Chair of Basic Research in Orthopedic Surgery at Columbia University. His laboratory is studying the development, biomechanics, and healing of the tendon-to-bone attachment, with a focus on solving the clinical challenge of repairing torn rotator cuff tendons. The research is funded by several NIH grants and has received awards from the ASME, the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons Society, and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. As the director of the Carroll Laboratories and the vice chair of basic research, he is leading an effort to engage orthopedic surgeons in basic and translational research by enhancing collaborations between engineering faculty and clinical faculty and by expanding core facilities for musculoskeletal research. In the laboratory, Dr. Thomopoulos has mentored 75 trainees, including undergraduate, masters, and PhD students as well as postdoctoral fellows. He has been a member of ASME since he declared his Mechanical Engineering major in his junior year in college in 1993, and is currently an ASME fellow and the treasurer of the ASME Bioengineering division.