From all over the world: to Davos – for the AO

Find out how Wei Hao sees his time at the AO center
Being able to come to Davos as an AO Research Institute Fellow is something of a dream come true for Wei Hao. The 41-year-old orthopaedic surgeon from the eastern Chinese city of Jinan specializes in trauma and joint reconstruction at Shandong Provincial Third Hospital. Like many of his colleagues back home, Hao considers the small Swiss mountain resort of Davos to be something of a holy land. "It's like a Mecca of medicine," he says. "After all, this is where the foundations were laid on which the modern techniques for operative bone fracture treatment are based."

Together with his team leader, Prof Martin Stoddart, and his supervisor, Dr Elena Della Bella, Hao will focus during his fellowship on the interaction between the human body and orthopaedic implants with different specific surface properties. Specifically, he wants to help improve the existing osteogenic protocol for the in-vitro induction of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in order to simulate more precisely their behaviour in vivo. "In-vitro studies pertaining to the osteogenesis of MSCs do not accurately reflect their actual capacities in vivo," Hao explains. One reason, he says, may be that an inappropriate induction protocol is routinely used. The final goal of the research project is the creation of an optimised method for testing newly-designed implants with different micro-topographies in vitro and observing their interaction mainly with MSCs.

Hao is especially looking forward to be able to make use of the AO Research Institute's state-of-the-art research facilities such as the biomechanics laboratories during his stint in Switzerland. Once he returns home to China, his aim is to continue pursuing his interest in experimental research using the knowledge and experience gained in Davos. In the long term, he is hoping to be able to establish his own orthopaedic laboratory.

“The beautiful landscape makes me feel calm, it allows me to fully focus on my experimental research. It's a great place to work and enjoy your life at the same time.”

Wei Hao, orthopaedic surgeon, ARI