The Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS) Spine Section is the premier professional body devoted to basic
and translational spine research, and an indispensable scientific forum for investigators at all career stages.
While Spine Section Symposia have been held successfully as sub-meetings of the main ORS Annual Meeting
for several years, available funds have resulted in significant programmatic limitations. A recent COVID-19
impact survey led by Spine Section members highlighted the challenges faced by spine researchers,
particularly by trainees, early investigators and minorities. We are requesting NIH funds to facilitate
programmatic expansion of Spine Section Symposia for the next 3 years to specifically support initiatives
designed to address these challenges. Specifically, the objectives of these annual, half day symposia will be to
leverage and expand the mission of the ORS Spine Section in order to catalyze transformative basic and
translational spine research through enhanced mentoring, diversity and collaboration across institutions and
countries. Four Specific Aims reflecting these integrated themes are proposed for each of 3 annual half day
meetings: 1) Enhancing spine research through precision mentoring; 2) Enhancing spine research by
increasing opportunity and participation by individuals from diverse backgrounds at all career stages; 3)
Enhancing spine research through multi-institution and international collaborations; and 4) Cutting edge basic
and translational spine research to enhance patient outcomes. Specific scientific topics will be selected from
recent and future Spine Section membership surveys, and will include: emerging diagnostic strategies for disc
degeneration and back pain; innovative drug delivery techniques for the spine; and leveraging developmental
and evolutionary biology, genomics and artificial intelligence to advance next generation spine therapeutics.
Symposia will be held the day preceding the main ORS Annual Meeting in a hybrid format that will in able full,
interactive participation by both in person and virtual attendees.