John DesJardins | Medical Implant Innovation

Patients are granted renewed hope and vigor with medical implants born in Clemson University’s Bioengineering Department. John DesJardins tells us about the growing number of total knee replacements, and how things can go wrong due to infections or other complications. This may result in a hard choice for patients — be wheelchair bound, have the knee fused so it doesn’t bend, or amputation. A very tough choice, indeed. He then reveals how researchers at Clemson invented a new knee implant that allows a fourth, more functional, option. It’s not a fully functional knee, but allows the patient to lock and unlock the fused knee for greater comfort and convenience. Looking into the future, he sees more and more functional prostheses, where patients will be able to adjust their ‘bionics’.

About John

An assistant professor in Bioengineering at Clemson University and the director of the Frank H. Stelling and C. Dayton Riddle Orthopaedic Education and Research Laboratory at CUBEInC, John received his Ph.D. in Bioengineering from Clemson University in December 2006. He has worked for over 20 years as a biomechanical research engineer; has co-authored over 150 peer-reviewed conference or journal publications in the areas of biomechanics, biomaterials tribology and engineering education; and directs the Laboratory of Orthopaedic Design and Engineering on the main campus of Clemson University.

His multi-disciplinary research has been funded through NASA, NSF, biomedical industry and other regional non-profit foundations. He is active on many professional societies and review panels, including the Biomedical Engineering Society, the National Collegiate Innovators and Inventors Alliance, and the Orthopaedic Research Society. He is a leader and educator in design innovation of biomedical devices, and directs the senior capstone design course curriculum, pairing students with clinicians to develop novel biomedical devices. He founded and co-mentors the Clemson University Retrieval of Explants Program and Registry in Orthopaedics (CU-REPRO), which is a regional repository that collects and studies explanted total joint devices.

John is an avid traveler and shares this passion through study abroad programs for students to places like Belgium, Spain and Tanzania.