Keith DK Luk, Professor, President of the ISSLS 2016/2017

kdkluk400Professor Keith DK Luk graduated from The University of Hong Kong in 1977 and received his orthopaedic training in Hong Kong, Liverpool, London and Edinburgh. He obtained his FRCS in 1981, MChOrth in 1984 and FRACS in 1985.
Professor Luk was Head of the Department of Orthopedics and Traumatology at The University of Hong Kong and Chief of the Spine Division from 2003-2012, and is at present the Tam Sai Kit Endowed Professor in Spine Surgery and Chair Professor. He was a Founding Fellow of the Hong Kong College of Orthopedic Surgeons. President of the Hong Kong Orthopaedic Association from 1993-1994, President of the Hong Kong College of Orthopaedic Surgeons from 1999-2000, Chairman of the AOSpine Asia Pacific from 2004-2007 and Honorary Treasurer of the Asia Pacific Orthopedic Association from 1995-2014. He was also President of the SICOT (Societe Internationale de Chirurgie Orthopedique et de Traumatologie), the largest international orthopedic society in the world, from 2014-2016.
Professor Luk’s research interests cover a wide range of spinal pathologies including spinal biomechanics, the use of functional MRI in cervical spondylotic myelopathy, adolescent idiopathic scoliosis and intervertebral disc degeneration. . He has published over 387 peer-reviewed articles, 30 book chapters in spine surgery, edited 2 books and holds 18 patents. In 1995, he established the Hong Kong Scoliosis School Screening Program for children in Hong Kong. It is to date one of the most effective and sustainable programs of its kind in the world, having screened over 1 million students and has greatly influenced society (e.g. AAOS) and government position statements towards managing children with scoliosis.  He is also the inventor of the fulcrum-bending radiograph that allows assessment of the spinal curve’s flexibility in individuals with scoliosis to assist with clinical management decision-making, operative strategy and predicting outcomes. This technique is currently being used in numerous centers worldwide. Along the same lines, he has developed a new method to assess skeletal maturity (i.e. Distal Radius Ulna Classification) to assist in scoliosis management. In March 2007, his team published in The Lancet the first successful series of allograft intervertebral disc transplantation in  humans with 5 year postoperative follow-up following  15 years of laboratory basic research on the topic. This pioneering work has provided significant insight into the role of the endplates in disc degeneration and regeneration as well as the safety, feasibility and technical strategies for allograft disc transplantation for the management of degenerative disc disease. In addition, he has received over 20 million USD in grants from regional and international funders in the role of PI or Co-I.
Professor Luk is a member of numerous editorial or advisory boards of top international journals, such as the Bone & Joint Journal, Spine, European Spine Journal, Journal of Orthopedic Science and Clinical Spine Surgery.
Professor Luk is married to his medical school classmate, Katherine, who is a well-established obstetrician and gynecologist in Hong Kong for the past 36 years. They play golf as regularly as time permits. Their two daughters are both engineers, Camille in material science and Jessica in music production.

James D Kang, MD, President of ISSLS 2015/2016


Dr. James Kang is a Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery who has spent the past 22 years at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine being clinically active as a spine surgeon,  educator, and researcher.  He has served as Executive Vice Chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery (2003-2015),   Director of the Ferguson Laboratory for Spine Research (1999-2015),  and UPMC Endowed Chair Professor of Spine Surgery(2007-2015).   Dr. Kang has recently accepted a position (September 1, 2015) as the Chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, affiliated with the Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA.

Dr. Kang is a nationally recognized clinical orthopaedic spine surgeon.  As a result of his academic productivity, Dr. Kang has also become an international leader in the basic science and clinical treatment of intervertebral disc degeneration. During his tenure as the Director of the Ferguson Laboratory for Orthopaedic Research, Dr. Kang led the development of novel therapies of intervertebral disc degeneration based on the latest gene transfer and stem cell technologies.  He and his research team performed comprehensive preclinical studies addressing feasibility, safety, and efficacy of these technologies.

Dr. Kang’s boundless energy and contribution to his work has been recognized as a past recipient of the highest societal awards for spinal research. He has received The International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine (ISSLS) Volvo Award for Best Basic Science Research and for Best Clinical Research in Spine on three different occasions. In addition, he has received the Henry Farfan Award for Outstanding Contributions in Spine as well as other Outstanding Research Awards from the North American Spine Society (NASS), as well as awards from the Cervical Spine Research Society (CSRS).  Locally, he has been recognized by Pittsburgh Magazine as one of “Pittsburgh’s Best Doctors” and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Medical Alumni Association awarded him the 2015 William S. McEllroy Award in recognition of his outstanding achievements and distinguished performance as a former resident of the University.

Dr. Kang has authored over 180 peer-reviewed publications and over 50 book chapters. He has given almost 300 national and international presentations, and he has frequently been invited to serve as visiting professor at other major universities.  He is a member of numerous professional societies including the Orthopaedic Research Society, International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine, Cervical Spine Research Society, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, North American Spine Society,  and the American Orthopaedic Association. Dr. Kang serves on the editorial boards of several orthopaedic journals, is the Deputy Editor of Spine, the leading journal for publication in his field, and  also serves as the Associate Editor of The Journal of Orthopaedic Research (Spine Section).

Dr. Kang is celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary to his wife Ruby and has 3 wonderful children, Robert, Jennifer, and Thomas.  His only vice is an addiction to golf.

Robert Gunzburg MD, PhD, President of ISSLS 2014/2015

Robert4Robert Gunzburg is a third generation medical doctor. He qualified in 1981 and became an orthopaedic surgeon in 1987. During his specialist training he spent two years in Cape Town at the Groote Schuur Hospital where he met and married Pam. Already during his specialist training he had elected to become a spine surgeon, and went on to do a spinal fellowship with Robert Fraser in Adelaide in 1988-89. On his return to Belgium he began working at the Brugmann University Hospital and was awarded a PhD in the study of the biomechanics of the lumbar spine in combined flexion/rotation at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles in 1991.

Around that time he began his in volvement in the European Spine Society and he became a member of ISSLS in 1991. As a surgeon he focused on adult degenerative work and went into private practice in early 2000. He continued to pursue his academic career, and through ISSLS formed a dynamic research team with Society members from the USA, Australia and Belgium performing ongoing research in Adelaide.

Together with Marek Szpalski he runs the Brussels International Spine Symposium which is now in it’s 21st year. He gives lectures around the world and has edited several books on spine related issues.

Robert Gunzburg was president of the Spine Society of Europe in 2007-2008 and reviews for several scientific publications. He became Editor-in-Chief of the European Spine Journal in 2014. At ISSLS he has served on many committees and was Secretary from 2005-2008.

Robert and Pam have two children and his main hobby is cooking.

Dr Jeremy Fairbank MD FRCS, Past President of ISSLS 2013/2014

jeremy-fairbankJeremy Fairbank is Professor of Spine Surgery in the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Oxford University Hospitals. His clinical work covers the whole range of spine surgery. He is Clinical Director of Thames Valley Comprehensive Local Research Network, which is part of a national network to enhance recruitment to all clinical trials. He is chair of UKSSB, which has the membership of all the UK based spine societies and hosts Britspine, the biennial UK national spine meeting.

Jeremy Fairbank was educated at Cambridge University and St Thomas’s Hospital London. He trained in St Batholemew’s Hospital, and did fellowships in Oswestry (where he published the Oswestry Disability Index, the leading clinical outcome measure used in spine) and later in Dallas with Dr Vert Mooney. His MD was award by Cambridge University for work on the facet joint.

The Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre is one of the most active musculoskeletal research centres in the world, with 25% of the most highly cited MS publications having contributions from NOC. This provides immense opportunities for developing spinal research. Jeremy Fairbank has been joint grant holder, with Dr Jill Urban, of Genodisc, an EU funded international collaboration, looking at the genetics of disc degeneration. He has had a particular interest in the development of phenotypes of low back pain and relating these to MR images. He is involved in research groups looking at spinal development in Marfan’s Syndrome and leptins and disc degeneration. He is completing a long term follow up of clinical trials looking at outcomes of operative and non-operative treatment of chronic back pain and adjacent segment disc degeneration.

Dr Kazuhisa Takahashi, President of the ISSLS 2012/2013

pres-takahashiDr. Takahashi is currently the Professor and Chairman of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University. He is also the Vice-Dean of School of Medicine and Graduate School of Medicine. Dr. Takahashi is a director of Japanese Orthopaedic Association, and he is also a director of many Japanese academic societies.

Dr. Takahashi graduated from School of Medicine, Chiba University in 1976. He studied orthopedic biomechanics at Mayo Clinic from 1980 through 1981 as a research fellow. He was granted Ph.D. degree in 1982 from Chiba University.

His department is one of the large orthopedic departments in Japan. Many scientific papers are published every year from his institution. There are 60 orthopedic surgeons working at his department. Half of them are engaged in clinical or basic researches related various orthopedic problems.