Kyle CichosDepartment of Orthopaedic Surgery postdoctoral student, Kyle Cichos, will be the first Doctor of Philosophy to graduate from the department when he finishes his program in 2023.

In fact, Cichos is getting his Ph.D. in immunology, a joint health sciences program. According to UAB Graduate Admissions, students are able to pursue clinical immunology research in a variety of focuses that are rarely offered at other institutions.

Lab Bay 1Cichos has chosen to focus his immunology research around orthopaedics, particularly in the study of musculoskeletal immunology.

Immunology is the study of the immune systems, its functions, and its responses. Musculoskeletal immunology focuses on the role of the body’s immunity in different disorders and diseases affecting the musculoskeletal system including infection around implants, avascular necrosis of the hip and shoulder, and osteoarthritis.

Cichos supports the only dedicated basic science research lab furnished by the department. His research efforts are supported by faculty across the department, who lend him their expertise. For instance, Section Chief of Joint Arthroplasty Elie Ghanem, M.D., dedicates his knowledge of arthroplasty to the lab, which is a main focus area.

MicroscopeAdditionally, John D. Sherrill Chair of Orthopaedic Surgery Steven Theiss, M.D., supports research with extensive clinical knowledge as a member of the spine team, while Chief of Sports Medicine Amit Momaya, M.D., and Assistant Professor Will Brabston, M.D., bolster shoulder rotation–and other sports medicine–research.

Finally, many members of the section of orthopaedic trauma support Cichos’ research surrounding infections, like surgical site infections, fracture-related infections, and diagnostic testing.

On a recent tour of his lab space, Cichos looked around the lab and noted his gratitude for the departmental support he has received.

“Working in a lab can be a bit isolating at times, but the department has shown time and again that this is a team effort to earn my Ph.D.,” said Cichos. “I am grateful for the direction and expertise that each faculty member brings to the table, and I look forward to developing my Ph.D. thesis with their support.”

Cichos is slated to graduate in May 2023. In the meantime, Cichos said he plans to soak in every bit of knowledge he can until then.

“The clinical and research expertise that I am surrounded by is second to none,” said Cichos. “I look forward to continuing to learn as I move our department’s basic science research efforts forward.”Cichos lab