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Health & Social Care Research Across North East & North Cumbria.

Musculoskeletal Disorders

Meet the Team

Musculoskeletal, or MSK, is a specialty which oversees clinical research into the structure and function of joints, bone, muscle and cartilage. Research looks to address the problems and diseases that are a result of the normal structure and function being disturbed. Musculoskeletal structure and function research is split into areas of focus inclusive of arthritis, metabolic bone disease, MSK disorders, orthopaedic surgery and rheumatological diseases and disorders.

The MSK specialty has many crossovers with other clinical specialties, such as neurological disorders, surgery and trauma and emergency care.

Susan Ridge

Research delivery manager

CRN North East and North Cumbria

Dan Dowen

Musculoskeletal (orthopaedics) specialty group lead

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust

Areas supported:

Anaesthesia, perioperative medicine and pain management, critical care, trauma and emergency, ophthalmology, ears, nose and throat, musculoskeletal, surgery and oral and dental

Connect with Susan Ridge

Email Susan

Dan Dowen's research experience

I am a consultant orthopaedic surgeon who has been working in South Tyneside and Sunderland Trust since 2016. I specialise in lower limb arthroplasty and trauma. I have been involved in research for over two decades. This initially started with laboratory based work in a biomedical science unit in Leeds, I was also involved in multiple research projects through medical and surgical specialist training. I have a number of publications to date encompassing a variety of cellular and clinical research. I have recently taken on the role of specialty group lead for T&O in the region.

My current interests lie within portfolio studies and the bringing together of units across the region to try and embed research into our daily practice as clinicians.

Tips for how to get involved in research: Don’t be shy – if you have any ideas then get in touch with someone to discuss on whether these may be feasible and how to move things forwards. Talk to research active individuals and learn from their experience. Network. As we continue to build hub and spoke models throughout clinical practice, research is no different. The more we work together the more we can share our experiences and learn from each other.

Connect with Dan Dowen

Email Dan

How to get involved


Visit the national specialty page here

View training opportunities

Take advantage of the career development support and training on offer from the NIHR

Spread the word

Tell your colleagues about the benefits of research. A research career can give opportunities for further learning in your specialism, directly benefiting patients, as well as providing extra skills, qualifications and CPD opportunities in areas you are passionate about. The variety and opportunities on offer will in turn hopefully boost job satisfaction. 


Contact the Biomedical Research Centre

Contact the Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre - they have a research theme into musculoskeletal disease, more specifically Osteoarthritis, which is a major cause of disability in our ageing population.

Collaborate with experts

Find collaboration opportunities with researchers, experts, industry and infrastructure within the NIHR.