Coen Wijdicks, Ph.D


Coen Wijdicks, Ph.D. is an orthopaedic researcher who was recruited to join the Steadman Philippon Research Institute (SPRI).  He currently serves as the Director of the Biomechanics Research Department and as a Senior Staff Scientist. His research focus is on translational research for current clinical needs. His specific emphasis is on a bench-to-bedside translational research focus of novel methods to stimulate tissue regeneration via biologic growth factors to promote healing, radiographic quantification related to common injuries of the knee and shoulder, and the development of new ligament reconstructions with biomechanical validation to optimize surgical reconstructions of common ligament injuries.

Dr. Wijdicks (pronounced vā-dix) received his Bachelor of Science degree from Colorado State University. While pursuing his undergraduate degree he spent each summer session performing research at the Mayo Clinic. While in his junior year Dr. Wijdicks was accepted into a Mayo Clinic undergraduate research fellowship program focusing on tissue engineering. After receiving his Bachelor’s degree, Dr. Wijdicks was accepted into the Master of Science degree program at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. His first year consisted of medical school coursework, followed by a second year of graduate level courses and thesis-directed research. Dr. Wijdicks’ graduate research focused on a novel method to enhance bone tissue growth, which was later published. After successfully defending his Master of Science degree, Dr. Wijdicks joined the faculty of the University of Minnesota as a Research Fellow under the mentorship of Robert LaPrade MD, PhD. While collaborating and mentoring numerous rotating undergraduate and graduate students, Dr. Wijdicks worked on his PhD thesis, titled: The Primary Medial Knee Structures in Injury: Radiographic Identification, Surgical Reconstruction, and Biomechanical Validation. This dissertation was completed under direction from his thesis advisor, Lars Engebretsen MD, PhD, who is from one of Europe’s top sports centers in Oslo Norway, and a member of the Steadman Philippon Research Institute’s Scientific Advisory Committee.

Dr. Wijdicks has published over 40 peer-reviewed scientific articles in high level journals, presented over 80 abstracts to national and international meetings, and received over 10 awards for his, and colleagues’, overall excellence in research. Most recently in June of 2010, Dr. Wijdicks was awarded the prestigious Nicola’s Foundation Young Research Award, which is given to the best scientific manuscript in the field of knee surgery at the European Society of Sports Traumatology Knee Surgery and Arthroscopy Bi-annual Congress. Dr. Wijdicks is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS), International Society of Arthroscopy, Knee Surgery and Orthopaedic Sports Medicine (ISAKOS), and the European Society of Sports Traumatology Knee Surgery and Arthroscopy (ESSKA).

Dr. Wijdicks’ goals for the direction of the biomechanics research department are strategically designed to place the Steadman Philippon Research Institute as one of the top orthopaedic research laboratories in the World. This includes remodeling the research laboratory area, collaborating with national and international colleagues and Universities, developing and employing novel research techniques, and continuing to publish in high quality peer reviewed journals.

Outside of his academic pursuits, Dr. Wijdicks has enjoyed volunteering at various schools teaching basic science concepts. Dr. Wijdicks has also completed six 5K races for which proceeds benefited orthopaedic research and education. Dr. Wijdicks also enjoys downhill skiing, tennis, mountain and road biking, and golf. As a former ski instructor he hopes to teach his girlfriend, Kathryn, the joy of skiing in beautiful Vail Colorado.