Amy McNulty, PhD

Associate Professor in Orthopaedic Surgery
Associate Professor in Pathology

Lab site:

The long-term goals of the McNulty lab are to develop strategies to prevent osteoarthritis and to promote tissue repair and regeneration following joint injury. We are working to identify the pathways that are activated by physiologic and injurious mechanical loading of joint tissues and how these mechanotransduction pathways are altered during aging. Our focus is on a greater understanding of alterations in mechanosensitive signaling mechanisms with aging and injury, revealing potential targets to prevent tissue degeneration and osteoarthritis.  Finally, we are also characterizing the mechanical and biological changes in the joint following injury and how these alterations contribute to osteoarthritis development and could be targeted for the development of therapeutics.  

For more information, visit Dr. McNulty’s Google Scholars page.

Research from our group recently won a 2018 Orthopaedic Research Society Meniscus Section Poster Award for research entitled:  “Optimization of Lentiviral Transduction of Meniscus Cells for Tissue Engineering Applications.” The authors of this study were Katherine A. Glass, Jacob C. Ruprecht, Jarrett M. Link, Taylor D. Waanders, J. Brice Weinberg, Farshid Guilak, and Amy L. McNulty.

We were recently awarded the OREF MTF Research grant for our project entitled: “Improving Meniscus Repair Using a Meniscus-derived Matrix Allograft.” The grant was awarded to Co-PIs Amy McNulty, PhD and William Garrett, MD, PhD.  

Current Grants

VA Rehabilitation Research Service Award (Weinberg) 04/01/15 – 3/31/19

Combining Gene Therapy and Tissue Engineering to Enhance Meniscal Repair

The goal of this study is to develop combined tissue engineering and gene therapy treatments that will promote meniscal repair in the pro-inflammatory environment after meniscal injury.

Role:  Co-Investigator

P30-AG028716 (Schmader) 07/01/16 – 06/30/18

Duke Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center

The NIH-funded Duke “Pepper Center” supports basic, clinical, and translational research, exploratory studies, and career development related to its theme: to understand and optimize physiological reserve and physical resilience in older adults.

The goal of this study is to provide proof-of-concept that transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 (TRPV4)-mediated mechanotransduction is dysregulated in old chondrocytes and restoration of these mechanisms will rejuvenate chondrocytes.

Role: Pepper Scholar, Pilot awardee

Orthopaedic Research Education Foundation/Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation (McNulty and Garrett) 07/01/18 – 06/30/20

The overall goal of this proposal is to generate a novel cell allograft scaffold combination and mechanical loading regimen that will enhance integrative meniscus repair.

Role:  Co-PI

Current Projects

  • Development of tissue engineering and gene therapy strategies to enhance repair of meniscus tears
  • Improving meniscus repair using a meniscus-derived matrix allograft
  • Characterization of meniscus mechanotransduction mechanisms in meniscus health and disease
  • Understanding the chondrocyte mechanome to identify therapeutic targets for joint diseases
  • Identification of biomarker profiles in subjects with joint injuries that may predict clinical outcomes
  • Developing methods for growth plate stimulation to treat patients with limb length inequalities

Selected Publications


  • Amy McNulty, PhD, Principal Investigator
  • Dawn Chasse, Lab Manager and Research Analyst I
  • Ben Andress, Pathology Graduate Student
  • Sofia Hildago Perea, Undergraduate Independent Study Student
  • Lucas Lyons, Research Technician 
  • Jason Kim, Undergraduate Independent Study Student


Positions are available in the McNulty Lab for graduate students, medical students, and postdoctoral researchers. Duke graduate and/or medical students should send an email stating your interest in a research rotation.  Postdoctoral candidates should provide a cover letter, CV, and contact information for three professional references.  These items should be sent to


Medical Sciences Research Building I, 203 Research Drive, Room 367
DUMC Box 3093, Durham, NC 27710