Awards, honors and societies

ARI members' awards, honors, and involvement in societies

Awards and honors


Sibylle Grad

Sibylle Grad was awarded the ORS 2024 Women’s Leadership Award. This award is given every year to recognize a woman biologist, clinician, or engineer who, throughout her professional lifetime, has made significant contributions to the understanding of the musculoskeletal system and musculoskeletal diseases and injuries. The recipient will have also demonstrated outstanding leadership through service to the professional community and mentorship of colleagues and trainees.

Junxuan Ma

Junxuan Ma was awarded the 2024 JOR Spine Early Career Award in recognition of his contributions to orthopaedics and the devotion of a significant portion of his professional lifetime to furthering knowledge in the field of musculoskeletal disease


Prof Mauro Alini

Prof Mauro Alini, vice director of the AO Research Institute Davos (ARI), was honored with a Career Achievement Award at the 2023 Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS)-EU Conference in Manchester, England. This prestigious award recognizes Alini's long-term, landmark contributions to the tissue engineering and regenerative medicine field—work he has carried forward at ARI for over twenty years.

Dr Ivan Zderic 

Dr Ivan Zderic won the 2023 EORS Best Oral Presentation Award with the presentation titled "Biomechanical assessment of anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) in a human cadaveric model with low bone mineral density"

Ance Bārzdiņa

Ance Bārzdiņa was nominated best doctoral student of the year from the Riga Stradins University, Riga, Latvia.

Prof Martin Stoddart

Prof Martin Stoddart has been awarded the title of Honorary Professor with the Keele University from September 1sr 2023 until August 31st 2026.


Daphne van der Heide and Gregor Miklosic

Daphne van der Heide and Gregor Miklosic were awarded the best oral presentation awards at 8th Graubünden forscht 2022 conference.

Prof Boyko Gueorguiev

Prof Boyko Gueorguiev was awarded the title Honorable Research Fellow of the Institute of Metal Science, Equipment and Technologies with Hydro- and Aerodynamics Centre "Acad. A. Balevski", Sofia, Bulgaria

Prof Geoff Richards

Prof Geoff Richards was awarded the ICORS Transformative Contribution Awards for his outstanding contribution to the establishment and governance of ICORS and FIOR, collaboratively leading to a substantial ICORS transformation evident by ICORS globalization, progressive development and expanded networking.

Dr Marco Chittò

Dr Marco Chittò was awarded the Best Overall Presentation award at ICORS 2022, Edimburgh, Scotland. The title of his presentation was "Dual application of bacteriophages and meropenem using microbead-loaded hydrogel for treatment of multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa in a mouse model of bone infection".

Firas Souleiman

Firas Souleiman won the Best Research Paper award at AGA Congress, Wien.

Paper title: 3D analysis of the most meaningful foot position for non-invasive detection of syndesmosis injuries

Dr Caroline Constant

Dr Caroline Constant was selected as member of the Editorial Review Board for Veterinary Surgery Journal (3 years term). Moreover, she won the John H. Moe Award for Best Basic Science/Translational Research Poster at the Scoliosis Research Society meeting, Stockholm, Sweden.

Poster title: Transforming electronic health records of scoliosis patients into clinical registries using natural language processing and computer vision methods

Dr Tiziano Serra

Dr Tiziano Serra was awarded Visiting Professor at Università del Piemonte Orientale Department of Health Sciences, from February 1, 2022, to June 30, 2022. In addition, he got appointed as Assistant Professor at the Complex Tissue Regeneration Department, MERLN Institute for Technology-Inspired Regenerative Medicine Maastricht University, NL starting from July 2022.


Prof Mauro Alini and Prof Geoff Richards at TERMIS EU 2017

Prof Mauro Alini and Prof Geoff Richards

Prof Mauro Alini and Prof Geoff Richards have been awarded the title of Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS) Fellow. ORS Fellows are the longstanding members of the ORS who have demonstrated exemplary service and leadership, substantial achievement, expert knowledge, and significant contributions to the ORS, its Governance, and the field of musculoskeletal research. Fellows represent ORS as the thought leaders and experts in their respective disciplines. Fellows also serve as role models in the ORS community and in the field of musculoskeletal research.

PD Peter Varga

Peter Varga, PhD, received the Venia Docendi and was appointed Privatdozent for Biomedical Engineering by the Medical Faculty of the University of Bern on 26th October 2021. Peter joined ARI in 2014 after obtaining his PhD in Biomedical Engineering and 3.5 years of post-doc training. He is the leader of the Biomechanics and Modeling Focus Area of ARI's Biomedical Development Program. Since 2018, Peter has been the lecturer of the Tissue Biomechanics Lab course at the Master program in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Bern.

Daphne Van der Heide and Gregor Miklosic

Daphne and Gregor won the Raquel Legeros Award. Given to two graduate students per year who would like to pursue their research in International or European academic laboratories or companies dedicated to biomaterials and regenerative medicine.

Dr Matteo D'Este

Dr Matteo D'Este was nominated Adjunct Professor at the Département de génie des mines, de la métallurgie et des matériauxis of the Laval University, Québec City, Canada, director Prof. Diego Mantovani. Matteo, works in ARI’s Regenerative Orthopaedics Program, where he is responsible for the Biomedical Materials Focus Area. He joined ARI in 2011 after a PhD in Physical Chemistry and 5 years of working experience in pharmaceutical and medical device industry.

Dr Zhen Li

Dr Zhen Li has been awarded the JOR Spine Early Career Award. With support from the ORS Spine Section, the JOR Spine Early Career Award is designed to recognize the "rising stars" in the field of Spine research and highlight their outstanding work published in the JOR Spine journal. Each year, awardees will be recognized at the ORS annual Meeting and ORS Spine Section Meeting.

Susanne Bärtl presenting at the 39th Annual Meeting of the European Bone and Joint Infection Society

Susanne Bärtl

Best Poster Award at 39th Annual Meeting of the European Bone and Joint Infection Society, October 7-9, 2021, Ljubljana, SI

Poster title: Comparison of a high-virulent versus a low-virulent Staphylococcus aureus strain in a murine fracture-related infection model

Alexandra Wallimann

Best Poster Award at the gut-bone axis meeting, online, June 21-23, 2021. Poster title: Short-chain fatty acids and antibiotics affect local and systemic processes relevant for bone healing.

Dr Valentina Basoli

Dr Valentina Basoli won the 2021/2023 sitem-insel School Scholarship.

SSB+RM award ceremony

Nadine Kluser and Nicola Di Marzio

Awards at SSB+RM2021-YS: 4th Young Scientist Annual Symposium, October 7, 2021, Zurich, CH Nadine Kluser, best poster: 3D printed scaffolds with multiscale surface topography inducing three-dimensional cell patterning. Nicola Di Marzio, best rapid fire presentation: Saturn-like vascularized tumor model (STM): combining tumor spheroid with a ring-shaped microvasculature by using sound.


Prof R Geoff Richards

On April 29, 2020, Prof R Geoff Richards was elected as a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales. This is not only the highest honor in Wales, but it is also fair recognition for the outstanding contribution that Geoff makes to the scientific research and to the AO mission.

Dr James Fletcher

ICORS Best Posters Award at the ORS congress, February 9-10, 2020, Phoenix, AZ, USA.

Presentation title: TightRight: augmenting screwdrivers to reduce bone stripping rates and optimize tightness when inserting non-locking screws.

Dr Andrew Foster

Andrew Foster won the Best Basic Science Registrar prize based at the the Australian Orthopaedic Association Queensland Branch Meeting 2020.

Paper title: Single-stage revision of MRSA orthopedic device-related infection in sheep with an antibiotic-loaded hydrogel.


Dr Angela Armiento during the Argos Hippium award ceremony

Dr Angela Armiento

Argos Hippium is a recognition of the work, the intelligence, the artistic and managerial skills of the Daunians (the people from the north of Apulia, Italy). Every year the prize is awarded during a night event taking place in the archaeological park of Siponto, Manfredonia. It is one of the biggest events in Apulia, with a presence of 1600 invited people. Angela was a 2019 recipient.

Daniel Ciric

Daniel received the highest distinction for his Master Thesis' work scored with the highest grade at Flinders University, Adelaide, AUS on April 17, 2019.

ARI supervisor: Dr Peter Varga.

Thesis title: The risk of secondary screw perforation in plate osteosynthesis of unstable proximal humerus fractures: prediction and the effect of screw length.

Dr James Fletcher

Second prize for best podium presentation at the BORS/BRS congress, September 4-6, 2019, Bath, UK.

Presentation title: Augmenting screwdrivers to reduce bone stripping rates and optimise tightness when inserting non-locking screws.

Poster award at the London Shoulder Meeting, May 17, 2019, London, UK.

Poster title: Optimising proximal humerus fracture plating – discoveries from computer simulations.

Prof David Eglin in front of the 3D printer

Prof David Eglin

With his appointment on June 1, 2019 as a professor at the University of Twente in Enschede, the Netherlands, ARI Principal Investigator David Eglin, PhD, was the eighth currently employed ARI scientist to become a professor, further underscoring ARI’s reputation as a world-class research institute.

In autumn 2019, as a member of the faculty of technology at University of Twente – a public research university – Eglin started to teach and mentor master’s-level biomedical engineering students in the translation of biomaterials research in orthopedics. A polymer chemist with extensive expertise in the synthesis and processing of responsive materials, Eglin joined ARI in 2006.

PD Sibylle Grad

ARI Principal Investigator Sibylle Grad, PhD, was appointed from February 1, 2019 adjunct professor (Privatdozent) in biomedical engineering at the Health Sciences and Technology Department at her alma mater, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich). Grad, who works in ARI’s Regenerative Orthopaedics Program, joined ARI in 2000 upon completion of her first postdoctoral training and has been a spring-semester lecturer for the Skeletal Repair course at ETH Zurich since 2015.

Left: Dr Emyr Roberts, Chair of Council, Aberystwyth University. Right: Prof R Geoff Richards, Honorary Fellow.

Prof R Geoff Richards

When ARI Director Prof Geoff Richards accepted an honorary fellowship from his alma mater, Aberystwyth University in Wales, on July 17, 2019, he represented the AO's contribution to the university's selection of those best of the best. Those present were recognized for an impressive array of achievements, from a key figure in the global campaign to eradicate polio to a former first minister of Wales. Richards was among nine honorary fellowship recipients who were recognized for their connections to the University of Wales and for outstanding contributions to their chosen fields.

Stijn Rotman

Best Poster Award at SSB+RM meeting, May 22-23, 2019, Muttenz, CH. Poster title: Surface modification of drug delivery microspheres to enhance affinity to bone.

Dr Andrea Schwab

Best Poster Award at TERMIS-EU meeting, May 27-31, 2019, Rhodes, GR. Poster title: Anisotropic properties of a hyaluronic acid collagen biomaterial ink to control cellular behavior.

AO Technical Commission Trauma Chairman Prof Michael Raschke, (left) and AO Technical Commission Director Claas Albers (right) hand over the Certificate of Merit to ARI's Focus Area Leader Concept Development Dr Markus Windolf (middle).

Dr Markus Windolf

On December 7, 2019 at a meeting of the AO Technical Commission Chairs, Dr Markus Windolf was honored with the prestigious AO Technical Commission Certificate of Merit, recognizing the integral role he has played in driving AO innovations forward. Giving Markus the award, Prof Michael Raschke, Chair of the AO Technical Commission Trauma, noted the numerous significant contributions he has made over the years, specifically his work on a simplified navigation system based on shape recognition to improve orthopedic procedures, and on a concept that automatically determines the required screw length during bone drilling. Both these concepts sparked great interest among the AO Technical Commission's Expert Groups and are currently in translation to clinical application.

Dr Devakar Epari (right) receives the best paper award at the 4th AOTrauma Asia Pacific Scientific Congress as representative of the biphasic development team.

Biphasic plate development team

At the 4th AOTrauma Asia Pacific Scientific Congress in Taipei, Taiwan, May 24-25, 2019, Dr Devakar Epari [Queensland University of Technology (QUT)], Dr Markus Windolf (ARI), Ronald Schwyn (ARI), Dr Stephan Zeiter (ARI), Roshan Gurung (QUT) and Ladina Hofmann-Fliri (ARI) were recognized for the development of the biphasic plating concept by receiving the best paper award.



Yannik Gehlen

In May 2018, MD student Yannik Gehlen, under the supervision of Dr Zhen Li (ARI) and Dr Gernot Lang (Freiburg University), obtained a student scholarship from the German Society of Orthopedic and Orthopedic Surgery (DGOOC). Doctoral thesis title: The effect of the selective JAK3-inhibitor Tofacitinib in degenerative disc disease.

Dr Tiziano Serra (left) received the ISBF Young Investigator Award 2018 at the society annual meeting.

Dr Tiziano Serra

Dr Tiziano Serra won the International Society for Biofabrication (ISBF) Young Investigator Award at the ISFB conference, October 28-31, 2018, Würzburg, DE. The purpose of the ISBF’s Young Investigator award is to recognize outstanding achievements by members of the ISBF who are in the early stages of a career in the field of Biofabrication.

Sebastian Wangler and his supervisor Sibylle Grad at ORS 2018 Annual Meeting.

Sebastian Wangler

Best poster award at Graubünden Forscht, 19-20 September 2018, Davos, CH. Poster title: Migration of mesenchymal stem cells into degenerative intervertebral discs.

Spine Section Poster Award at ORS 2018 Annual Meeting, March 10-13, New Orleans, LA, USA. Poster Title: Homing of mesenchymal stem cells enhances Tie2+ progenitor cells and induces a proliferative response in intervertebral disc organ culture.



Prof Martin Stoddart

Prof Martin Stoddart was elected as a Member-at-Large for Europe for the governing board of TERMIS.

Prof Martin Stoddart was inducted as an International Combined Orthopaedic Research Societies (ICORS) Fellow of International Orthopaedic Research (FIOR).

Peter Varga

Peter Varga was elected as Chair of the Meeting WebPortal Committee for the Council of The European Society of Biomechanics.

Dr Elena Della Bella

Dr Elena Della Bella was selected to serve as a member of the Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS) Scientific Communications Committee (2022-2024).


Dr Matteo D'Este

Dr Matteo D'Este was elected as a member of the ESB council as Industrial liaison officer with a 4-year mandate.

Dr Sophie Verrier

Sophie Verrier was elected SBMS president for a 2-year mandate.

Dr Caroline Constant

Dr Caroline Constant was elected as member of the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee from ACVS.


Assoc Prof Zhen Li, PhD

Dr Zhen Li was elected as Members-at-Large of the Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS) Spine Section Board Member.

Dr Stephan Zeiter

Dr Stephan Zeiter was nominated as the past chair of the Preclinical Models Section of the Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS). Moreover, he was elected as President of the European College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ECLAM) for 2021-2022 and as co-president of Naturforschende Gesellschaft Davos (NGD).


Dr Matteo D'Este

On May 23, 2019, Dr Matteo D'Este was elected as a member of the Executive Committee of the Swiss Society for Biomaterials and Regenerative Medicine (SSB+RM).

Bulgarian Orthopedic and Traumatology Association President Prof Asen Baltov (left) and Vice President Prof Kalin Mihov (right) hand over the Honorary Membership Award to Prof Boyko Gueorguiev (middle).

Prof Boyko Gueorguiev

At the 14th National Congress of the Bulgarian Orthopedic and Traumatology Association (BOTA) held in Varna, BG, October 3-6, 2019, Prof Boyko Gueorguiev was elected as an Honorary Member of the Bulgarian Orthopedic and Traumatology Association (BOTA) for his significant contribution to the active participation of the young generation of orthopedic trauma surgeons in preclinical research. The Diploma of Honorary Award was given to him at a special ceremony by the BOTA President Prof Asen Baltov and Vice President Prof Kalin Mihov.

Prof R Geoff Richards at TERMIS EU 2017, held in Davos, CH.

Prof R Geoff Richards

Prof R Geoff Richards took office as President of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS) on January 1, 2019 for a three-year term. Commenting on his election, Richards said that he is honored and humbled to have been selected by the membership and thanked them for placing their trust in him. His goals for his term as president would include supporting the society globally, improving governance and related processes, introducing a method for national tissue engineering societies to affiliate to TERMIS chapters to strengthen the global society, and to give Fellows of TERMIS active roles to mentor the next generations. Richards also wishes to empower the Student and Young Investigator Section (SIYS). Finally, he also wishes to review the vision and mission of the society. The overarching principle for his term as president is, he stressed, a focus on harmonization of chapter processes, governance, and collaboration.

Prof Martin Stoddart

Prof Martin Stoddart became a member of the International Combined Orthopaedic Research Societies Steering Committee.

Prof Martin Stoddart was re-elected as the Deputy co-chair of the Basic Science committee from the International Cartilage Regeneration & Joint Preservation Society.


Dr Daniel Arens

Dr Daniel Arens was a member of the board of directors of the Swiss Association of Veterinarians in Industry and Research and was elected as member of the credential committee of Swiss Veterinary Laboratory Animal Science (SVLAS).

EORS Executive Committee (from left to right): Dr Gianluca Vadala, spine surgeon Rome, IT (Vice President), Prof Denitsa Docheva, Regensburg, DE (President), Dr Jeannette Penny, foot and ankle surgeon, Køge, DK (Treasurer), Prof Boyko Gueorguiev, ARI (General Secretary).

Prof Boyko Gueorguiev

Prof Boyko Gueorguiev was elected to be General Secretary in the Executive Committee of the European Orthopaedic Research Society (EORS). The election took place at the Society's general assembly held at EORS 2018, September 28-28, Galway, Ireland. This position keeps a strong connection of the AO Foundation with the EORS. Moreover, as of 1 April 2018, Prof Gueorguiev was appointed Member of the Academic Council at the University Multiprofile Hospital for Active Treatment and Emergency Medicine 'N. I. Pirogov', Bulgaria.

Dr Stephan Zeiter

Dr Stephan Zeiter was elected as chair for a two-year term (2018-2019) of the Preclinical Models Section of the Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS).

What AO Research Institute Davos fellows have to say

“At the AO Research Institute Davos, I made friends from all over the word, learned from world renown scientists, had the opportunity to work on my own research projects.”

Dr Marc Daniel Ahrend, BG Trauma Center, Tübingen, Germany

Learn more about fellowships at ARI

Medical research fellowships

Providing motivated surgeons and scientists with on-site research training to gain experience in R&D projects focusing on relevant clinical problems.

Veterinary research fellowships

Offering motivated veterinarians on-site research training to gain experience in R&D projects focusing on relevant clinical problems.

Veterinary externships

Enabling veterinary students to apply coursework learning to a real-life setting in preclinical orthopedic research within AO Research Institute Davos.