Tendon and Bone Regeneration
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Institute of Tendon and Bone Regeneration

Head: Prof. Dr. Andreas Traweger


The Institute of Tendon and Bone Regeneration originates from a research initiative for cell biology and was founded at the end of 2011 by Univ.-Prof. Dr. Herbert Resch, Rector of Paracelsus Medical Private University and Senior Consultant of the University Hospital for Trauma Surgery and Sports Traumatology. This was possible by an endowment by three sponsors – Red Bull GmbH, Rauch GmbH and Rexam PLC, which have financed the institute first for five years. Univ.-Doz. Dr. Hans-Christian Bauer was entrusted as a research professor with the management of the institute for the duration of three years. The work group around Bauer was taken over in the institute and thus the long cooperation between the head of the institute, its employees and the rector was strengthened and expanded.


The name of the new institute reveals its goal: to develop new treatment strategies for defective/damaged tendons and bones, in order to restore their functionality as far as possible. These strategies have to do very often with the potential of the plastic precursor cells which differentiate themselves during the regeneration process in cells with clearly specific functions. In this way, the own healthy cells of the body can be attracted and stimulated. Alternatively, the damaged cells and tissues can be replaced by transplantation. Generally, we follow the "From Bench to Bedside" philosophy and focus primarily on the research of the fundamental mechanisms of the tendons and bone degeneration and their correction. This is done both in vitro and in vivo, in order to be able as a result to develop therapeutic strategies for tissue regeneration.

Research projects and methods


There are already several strategies that are applied in the hospital in order to accelerate the regeneration of the bones, but, as before, new ways were desirable. Certain pathological conditions in the bones can still not be explained and require scientific research. On the other hand, the regeneration of the tendons is still very little understood and in the recent decades it was often neglected. Therefore, the need to research the regeneration capabilities of the tendons is obvious – and, due to the increasing ageing of the population, is becoming even more urgent. One of the possible strategies in both tissues is the use of precursor cells. Therefore, our projects will answer the questions about the nature and the effectiveness of these cells and what significant role they can play in the regeneration. In addition, in the tendon area, the fundamental research of the tendon cells is important and also to what extent their precursor cells play a role in the healthy and the damaged tendons.


Currently running projects:

  • The properties of the perivascular tendon cells in vitro and in vivo
  • The effect of age and gender on the stability of the tendons and the build-up of the tendon and bone structures, in particular of the osteocytes
  • The comparison of the mesenchimales stem cells with tendon precursor cells (TDSCs)
  • Establishing the suitable animal models in order to be able to analyse the regeneration models

Sparkling Science

Project:SPARCling Matrix

Injuries and pathological changes in tendons represent a major challenge for orthopedics, especially as the number of these diseases increases dramatically with age and injured tendons heal poorly. In addition to inflammatory processes, changes in tendon structure (extracellular matrix) and tendon cells are central for the development and progression of tendon diseases, the so-called tendinopathies.

Recent studies in various other tissues show, that alterations in the extracellular matrix also impacts on the metabolic landscape of the tissue, resulting in poor healing outcomes and scar formation. Initial results suggest that similar processes contribute to the limited healing of tendons.

However, the underlying mechanisms are still poorly understood. One goal of the project is to investigate these processes using comprehensive molecular and cell biological methods. These investigations will be performed using a genetically modified mouse model lacking the tendon-relevant protein SPARC (Secreted Protein Acidic and Rich in Cysteine). These animals have severely impaired tendons showing characteristics comparable to tendinopathy in humans.

In the second project goal, we aim to develop a digital platform for automated and objective evaluation of tissue sections based on three typical structural features of diseased tendons. To this end, the students of HTBLuVA Salzburg (Major: biomedicine and health technology), together with the cooperation partners, will develop software tools using AI-based techniques (e.g. "deep learning" and segmentation methods) and integrate them into a user-friendly app. In doing so, the students will learn first-hand about both the technical and biological backgrounds of the emerging AI-based digital pathology.

Our own preliminary results indicate a therapeutic effect of SPARC for injured tendons. In the third project aim a well-established tendon defect model will be employed to assess the efficacy of a local administration of SPARC to improve tendon healing. For analysis of the repair tissue we will make use of the digital platform established in goal 2. Elucidating the molecular and cellular factors driving tendinopathy and the development of an automated scoring tool will help us to better understand and characterize the underlying processes causing tendinopathic degenerations. The potential beneficial effect of SPARC on tendon healing potentially provides new possibilities to treat tendon injuries.





Wissenschaftliche Kooperationen

  • ForschungsCluster für Geweberegeneration, Wien
  • Querschnitts- und Geweberegenerationszentrum Salzburg, PMU, Salzburg
  • Universitätsklinik für Unfallchirurgie und Sportmedizin, SALK, Salzburg (Univ.-Prof. Dr. Herbert Resch)
  • Institut für Biomechanik, Unfallklinik Murnau, Deutschland (Univ.-Prof. Dr. Peter Augat)
  • Institut für Molekulare Regenerative Medizin, PMU, Salzburg (Univ.-Prof. Dr. Ludwig Aigner)
  • Universitätsklinik für Kinder- und Jugendheilkunde, Laura-Bassi-Center of Expertise – THERAPREP, Forschungsprogramm für Rezeptorbiochemie und Tumorstoffwechsel, PMU, Salzburg (Univ.-Prof. Dr. Barbara Kofler)
  • Institut für Physiologie und Pathophysiologie, PMU, Salzburg (Univ.-Prof. Dr. Markus Ritter)
  • Abteilung für Organismische Biologie, Paris-Lodron-Universität Salzburg (Univ.-Doz. Dr. Hannelore Bauer)
  • Institut für Pharmakologie, Universität Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australien (Dr. Norman Saunders und Dr. Kate Dziegielewska)
  • Institut für Biophysik, Biology Research Center, Szeged, Ungarn (Dr. Istvan Krizbai)
  • Molecular and Cell Nutrition Laboratory, Universität Lexington, USA (Dr. Bernhard Hennig)
  • Leibniz-Institut für Molekulare Pharmakologie, Berlin-Buch, Deutschland (Dr. Ingolf Blasig)
  • Universitätsklinik für Geriatrie, CDK, Salzburg (Univ.-Prof. Dr. Bernhard Iglseder)
  • Spinal Cord Injury Center, Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg, Deutschland (Prof. Dr. Norbert Weidner, Prof. Dr. Armin Blesch)
  • Straniak-Stiftung, Schweiz

Industry partner

  • Arthrex Inc., Naples, USA (Dr. Marion Schrader)
  • Applied biotechnology, Salzburg (Univ.-Doz. Dr. Hannelore Bauer)

Team and contact

Prof. Dr. Andreas Traweger
Head of the Research Professorship for Regeneration Biology

deputy head of  Research and Innovation Center Novel Therapies & Regenerative Medicine

Phone: +43 662 2420-80860
Mail: andreas.traweger@pmu.ac.at
Mag.a Mag.a Dr.in Doris Traweger
Institute of Tendon and Bone Regeneration
Assistant to the Head

Phone: +43 662 2420-80861
Mail: doris.traweger@pmu.ac.at
Mag.a Dr.in rer. nat. Renate Gehwolf
Institute of Tendon and Bone Regeneration
Research Associate

Phone: +43 662 2420-80865
Mail: renate.gehwolf@pmu.ac.at
Mag.a Mag.a Dr.in Christine Lehner
Institute of Tendon and Bone Regeneration
Research Associate

Phone: +43 662 2420-80867
Mail: christine.lehner@pmu.ac.at
Priv.-Doz. Mag. Dr. Herbert Tempfer
Institute of Tendon and Bone Regeneration
Research Associate

Phone: +43 662 2420-80864
Mail: herbert.tempfer@pmu.ac.at
Mag.a Dr.in Andrea Wagner
Institute of Tendon and Bone Regeneration
Research Associate

Phone: +43 662 2420-80867
Mail: andrea.wagner@pmu.ac.at
Bettina Faustini, MSc.
Institute of Tendon and Bone Regeneration
Ph.D.-Student (currently on maternity leave)

Phone: +43 662 2420-80866
Mail: bettina.faustini@pmu.ac.at
Dr. Thomas Lettner
Institute of Tendon and Bone Regeneration
Research Associate

Phone: +43 (0)662 2420-80866
Mail: thomas.lettner@pmu.ac.at
Nevra Cesur
Institut für Sehnen- und Knochenregeneration

Phone: +43 (0)662 2420-80868
Mail: nevra.cesur@pmu.ac.at