Musculoskeletal research expands at UCSF, scientists Kelsey H. Collins, PhD, Christopher J. Hernandez, PhD join Department


Scientists Dr. Kelsey Collins, PhD and Dr. Christopher Hernandez, PhD will join the faculty in the UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. (Photos:  Courtesy of the UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery)

SAN FRANCISCO (June 14, 2022) – The UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and the UCSF Musculoskeletal Center are pleased to announce the faculty appointments of two scientists: Kelsey H. Collins, PhD and Christopher J. Hernandez, PhD.

“From basic science to clinical research, we constantly seek to push scientific boundaries by collaborating broadly across the scientific community,” said Dr. Thomas P. Vail, MD, chair of the Department. “With the addition of Dr. Collins and Dr. Hernandez to our Department, we significantly strengthen the ability to reach beyond knowledge barriers and further our understanding of systemic factors involved in musculoskeletal health and disease.”

“Both Dr. Collins and Dr. Hernandez bridge the outstanding musculoskeletal research in our Department with leading scientists throughout UCSF, including those who study metabolism, the microbiome, and stem cells” said Dr. Tamara Alliston, PhD, Professor and Director of the UCSF Musculoskeletal Center. “We welcome them to our faculty and look forward to exciting discoveries and new collaborations that will emerge from each of their laboratories.”  

About Kelsey H. Collins, PhD

Kelsey Collins, PhD

Kelsey Collins received her doctoral degree in Biomedical Engineering in 2017 at the University of Calgary, where she studied the role of obesity in osteoarthritis in the laboratory of Dr. Walter Herzog.

As a Postdoctoral Research Scholar and Research Instructor in the laboratory of Dr. Farshid Guilak at Washington University in St. Louis, Dr. Collins investigated the effects of fat and other systemic factors on cartilage using novel stem cell and synthetic biology tools. 

Her research was acknowledged with a New Investigator Recognition Award from the Orthopaedic Research Society in 2020 and she was named among the inaugural class of Rising Stars in Engineering in Health by Columbia University in 2020. Dr. Collins was recently awarded a prestigious NIH Pathways to Independence K99/R00 to investigate the role of fat in osteoarthritis

Dr. Collins’ laboratory in the UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery will investigate metabolic and systemic factors driving age-related musculoskeletal diseases using tissue engineering and regenerative medicine approaches. With affiliations in the UCSF Musculoskeletal Center, Diabetes Center, Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research, and the Benioff Center for Microbiome Medicine, Dr. Collins is in an ideal position to discover new mechanisms of osteoarthritis and advance therapeutic development for musculoskeletal damage, pain and metabolic diseases. 

About Christopher J. Hernandez, PhD


Christopher Hernandez, PhD comes to UCSF by way of the East Coast, where he has served as a Professor in the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell University and as an Adjunct Scientist at the Hospital for Special Surgery.

Dr. Hernandez’s laboratory investigates the effects of the microbiome on bone and joint disorders, periprosthetic joint infection, and the biomechanics and mechanobiology of infectious bacteria. A recent NSF award supports his efforts to build living materials, inspired by his research on bacteria and bone.

Dr. Hernandez is a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), and the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR). He is the 2018 recipient of the ASBMR Fuller Albright Award for Scientific Excellence and was recently awarded Educator of the Year by the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers in 2021.

Based in the UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and the UCSF Musculoskeletal Center, Dr. Hernandez also holds appointments in the UCSF Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences and the Benioff Center for Microbiome Medicine. He has been named as a Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Investigator and will serve as the next Director of UCSF HIVE, Health Innovations via Engineering.