Tristan Maerz, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering

Tristan Maerz, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Biomedical Engineering.  He completed his undergraduate studies in Biomedical Engineering at Lawrence Technological University, followed by his Master’s and doctoral training in Biomedical Engineering at Wayne State University. Prior to joining the Orthopaedic Surgery faculty at the University of Michigan, Dr. Maerz was a research engineer and the director of sports medicine research at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, MI and held an Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery appointment at the Oakland University – William Beaumont School of Medicine. Dr. Maerz and his laboratory are part of the Orthopaedic Research Laboratories, an interdisciplinary faculty consortium within the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, and he is interested in basic science, translational, and clinical research focused on sports medicine-related injuries and pathologies. Dr. Maerz is an active member of the Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS) and Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI), which are his primary academic communities.

Maerz Laboratory Website 

PubMed Publication List

Google Scholar Profile

Research Gate Profile

Areas of Interest

Dr. Maerz’ primary research area is the pathogenesis of post-traumatic osteoarthritis (PTOA) following joint injury, with a specific focus on the synovium and injury-induced molecular mechanisms that modulate the onset of joint degeneration. The Maerz laboratory has a strong translational focus, and each major research platform aims to discover druggable targets to develop novel, disease-modifying treatments for PTOA.

Given the expanding incidence of joint injury and the rapidly-growing burden of osteoarthritis and its associated musculoskeletal and non-musculoskeletal comorbidities, a critical need exists to alter the natural history of tissue degeneration following joint injury. To study the complex phenotype of PTOA, the Maerz lab employs multi-faceted assessments to discern in vivo molecular processes, gene and protein expression and content, pain sensitization, pathologic tissue remodeling, and cellular composition. A strong focus is placed on quantitative assessments of PTOA disease severity to minimize or eliminate subjective interpretation, and quantitative imaging is used heavily to strengthen the joint phenotyping approaches. The Maerz lab also employs multiple genetically-modified mouse models to dissect the molecular mechanisms of osteoarthritis.

The mission of the Maerz lab is to foster an inclusive and diverse environment in which innovative, multidisciplinary science can be conducted. Collegiality and collaboration are top priorities, recognizing that rigorous team science will be necessary to develop a successful treatment for PTOA.


B.S. in Biomedical Engineering (2009); M.S. in Biomedical Engineering (2011); Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering (2015).

Office Location

University of Michigan
Orthopaedic Research Laboratories
A. Alfred Taubman Biomedical Science Research Building, Office #2017
109 Zina Pitcher Place
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2200