Ken Johnson to take the reins of AO VET R&D Commission in July


08 March 2021

Kenneth Johnson

With an impressive curriculum vitae spanning veterinary orthopedic surgery, research, postsecondary education, and more than 40 years of involvement with AO VET, Australian veterinary surgeon Ken Johnson will take the reins as AO VET Research and Development (R&D) Commission chairperson in July 2021.

Johnson, succeeds current AO VET R&D Chairperson Matthew Allen, currently is a consultant specialist in orthopedics in Rosebery and Sydney, Australia, as well as an emeritus professor at the University of Sydney School of Veterinary Science and a research affiliate in the Prince Wales Hospital Surgery and Orthopaedic Research Laboratory at the University of New South Wales in the Sydney suburb of Kensington.

Going into his first term as AO VET R&D Commission chairperson, Johnson brings a passion and enthusiasm for orthopedic research across all species.

“Although I am equally keen on clinical practice and teaching, I genuinely believe that the AO can only maintain its preeminent position as a leader in this field through research and generation of new knowledge that will form foundations for improved practice of orthopedics and the teaching thereof in the future,” he explains.

An internationally recognized and active orthopedic surgeon, Johnson has a strong appreciation for the important clinical priorities of research. He is board certified in veterinary surgery in the United States, Europe, and Australia, and since 2009 has been editor in chief of the international journal Veterinary and Comparative Orthopaedics and Traumatology (VCOT), the leading journal focused exclusively on veterinary orthopedics. Through his interactions with more than 100 VCOT reviewers, Johnson has established an extensive national and international network of colleagues in orthopedics.

Moreover, Johnson’s research has generated more than 120 peer-reviewed publications, including many in high-impact journals, reporting work on arthrodesis, bone grafting, canine bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (first report), interlocking nailing, biomarkers of post-trauma osteoarthritis (clinical and animal models), tibial osteotomy, locking plates, tendon grafting, stress fractures, and joint kinematics. This research has been supported by about USD 1.5 million in grants, through the mentoring of numerous postgraduate research students, and collaborations with colleagues at the AO Research Institute Davos (ARI). He has collaborated with current AO VET R&D Commission Chairperson Allen to investigate the use of computer-navigated guidance to improve the accuracy of tibial plateau leveling osteotomy.

Johnson also brings considerable experience in gaining approval for ethics applications and maintaining the highest standards of animal care.

Johnson says a six-week AO Fellowship in 1979 with AO cofounder Hans Willenegger at Liestal Hospital in Switzerland was a transformative life experience.

“Suffice to say, this pivotal experience transformed my whole career as a small animal orthopedic surgeon, awakening me to the wonder and power of being part of the AO family,” he recalls.

Since then, Johnson has been part of a number of firsts, including the first triple AO VET course in Sydney in 1981 and development of the first anatomically precontoured tibial plateau leveling (TPLO) plate for docs.

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