Restoring Function and Enabling Mobility

through the development of novel bracing and implant technology that improves the rehabilitative and therapeutic treatments of joint and musculoskeletal injuries.

Denis J. DiAngelo

Denis J. DiAngelo, PhD 
UTHSC Distinguished Professor 
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery & Biomedical Engineering
UTHSC College of Medicine 
956 Court Ave., Suite E234
(901) 448-7744

Research Interests

Development of advanced robotic testing platforms that simulate how human joints move under different loading conditions. One such platform, our patented Spine Robot, has provided an opportunity to work closely with the medical device industry to evaluate and design spinal implants, joint arthroplasty, and skeletal fixation / trauma hardware. The robotic testing platform allows combined motion and/or force control to measure corresponding kinematic instabilities under simulated physiologic conditions. This innovative approach provides an opportunity to characterize specific joint and tissue structures, providing insight into physiologic function and mechanisms of diseases and spinal injuries, as well as study extremity joints (in particular, rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder complex and the foot and ankle). Over the past decade we have used our extensive library of test data (in excess of 1000 human specimens) and testing methodologies, to design and validate new bracing technology, including a pediatric scoliosis brace, a dynamic ankle orthosis, and an offloading back support device. Our recent translational work studies the performance of our novel technology against existing devices on the market through human clinical trials with our collaborators Drs. M Paquette and D. Powell in the Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Memphis.


University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada, Bachelor of Science , Mechanical Engineering (May 1983)

McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada, Master of Engineering, Mechanical Engineering (June 1986)

 McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada, Doctor of Philosophy, Biomedical Engineering (May 1993)

UTHSC Professor, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Biomedical Engineering, UTHSC (1993)

Adjunct Faculty, Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Memphis (1995)

Adjunct Faculty, College of Health Studies, University of Memphis (2022)

Chief Scientific Officer, Cagenix, Inc. (2005-2010)

EMBrace Design, LLC, President and Founding Member (2017 - present)

Brief Biosketch

Joined the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) at UTHSC in 1993 and was a founding member involved in the creation of the Joint Graduate Program in BME between BME Departments at UTHSC and the University of Memphis in 1995. I served as the Program Director of the UTHSC site for 7 years and currently serve as the Director of the Orthopaedic Robotics Biomechanics and Rehabilitation Laboratory. My research collaborations in spine biomechanics have largely been with the faculty in the Department of Neurosurgery at UTHSC. I have also established collaborations with spine surgeons in Europe, Korea and across the United States. My research in wrist, shoulder and foot & ankle joint biomechanics have been with the Orthopaedic Surgeons at the Campbell Clinic in Memphis.  More recently have begun collaborations with the faculty in the Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Memphis focusing on the translational science of our novel bracing technology. 

Honors And Awards

UTHSC Distinguished Professor, College of Medicine, UTHSC (2013 to present)

Distinguished Teaching Professor, UTHSC – Memphis (2002- 2005)

DiAngelo DJ, Foley KT, Morrow B, German JW, Bertagnoli R, Song J, Mroz T, Biomechanical Comparison of the Charite and ProDisc-L Lumbar Disc Prostheses, Proceedings of the 2006 Annual Meeting of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, San Francisco, Apr, 2006 – BEST POSTER AWARD.

1998 J. William Fielding Award for Resident/Fellow Research Paper, Rampersaud YR, Foley KT, DiAngelo DJ, Vossel K, Jansen T, Cervical Spine Research Society (1998)

Research Support

Principal Investigator of 125 independent industry-sponsored studies that involved biomechanical evaluation of more than 175 different medical devices resulting in research expenditures in excess of $4.5M for my Lab.  Other research support from the Whitaker Foundation, Bioworks & StartCo Foundations, and University of Tennessee Research Foundation (~$400K).

Biographic Information

>125 Technical Reports for Industry

45 Peer-reviewed Publications

350 Peer-reviewed Scientific Presentations

45 Invited Speaker Presentations

5 Issued US Patents and 2 US Patent Applications (pending June of 2022)

Society Memberships

  • Biomedical Engineering Society
  • North American Spine Society 
  • AO North America
  • Southern Biomedical Engineering Society
  • Cervical Spine Research Society (2003-2016)
  • Member, Advisory Board, Department of Biomedical Engineering, The University of Mississippi (2021 to present)

Ad Hoc Reviewer for 12 Scientific/Clinical Journals and 3 engineering societies

Directed Student Learning

Served on 90 graduate student committees (57 as Chair) and trained: 2 Visiting Scholars, 14 Neurosurgery Fellows, 3 Orthopaedic Residents, 3 Post-doctoral Students, and 32 Undergraduate students in the Orthopaedic Robotics Biomechanics and Rehabilitation Laboratory. Currently the Thesis Advisor of 4 Masters students.