Research Spotlight: James Connors, DPM, AACFAS
James Connors, DPM, AACFAS is leading the new generation of foot and ankle surgeons with a unique research focus on the microscopic causes of Charcot Neuroarthropathy. While an undergraduate student at The Ohio State University, Dr. Connors forged an early interest in molecular genetics, while studying the variation of human circadian rhythm genes in patients with chronic stress. He carried this interest with him to podiatry school where he discovered a way to incorporate his interest in disease processes and the podiatric patient population. Following graduation from Kent State University College of Podiatric Medicine, Dr. Connors was accepted into the prestigious Cleveland Clinic Kaiser Podiatric Surgery training program under the guidance of Mark Hardy, DP:M, Jordan Grossman, DPM, and Allan Boike, DPM, among many other well-trained surgeons.
As a resident, he cultivated a human gene expression study to uncover the pathogenesis of Charcot Neuropathy, which received funding from the American College of Foot and ankle Surgeon's annual scientific grant. This study (in review;JFAS) explored gene expression related to the more current theory of unopposed osteoclast activation leading to bone resorption and ultimately Charcot osseous deterioration. The results of this research demonstrated that there was not a systemic gene overexpression and the joint destruction was a result of a local disease process. These results give credence to the use of offloading as a primary early treatment while diminishing the use of systemic treatments such as bisphosphonates, monoclonal antibodies and intranasal calcitonin.
Through his new position as an Assistant Professor in the KSUCPM Division of Surgery and Biomechanics, Dr. Connors aims to investigate new genetic pathways that contribute to development of Charcot Neuroarthropathy, while training the next generation in the research process and methodology. Dr. Connors, along with the rest of the surgery division, have created a group of dedicated student researchers that are mentored by KSUCPM faculty. Given the acronym SABER for short, the Surgery And Biomechanics Education Researches are students advised on surgical and clinically relevant research ideas while being inspired to fully participate in the project from beginning to eventual publication. This select group is comprised of twenty students ranging from all class years at KSUCPM. These SABER students have the unique opportunity to learn all aspects of forming a high quality podiatric research project while being guided by more experienced podiatric surgeons and clinicians with a wide range of expertise and research interests.
Dr. Connors strives to show his appreciation towards his mentors, by inspiring future generations of podiatrist, while continually striving to improve patient care through well-designed research studies and publications.