Tristan Maerz, Ph.D.

Research Investigator, Orthopaedic Surgery

Dr. Maerz is a Research Investigator of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Michigan. He completed his undergraduate studies in Biomedical Engineering at Lawrence Technological University, followed by his Master’s and doctoral training in Biomedical Engineering at Wayne State University. Prior to joining the Orthopaedic Surgery faculty at the University of Michigan, Dr. Maerz was a research engineer and the director of sports medicine research at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, MI and held an Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery appointment at the Oakland University – William Beaumont School of Medicine. Dr. Maerz is a member of the Orthopaedic Research Laboratories and the MedSport group at the University of Michigan, and he conducts basic science, translational, and clinical research on sports medicine-related injuries and pathologies.

Dr. Maerz’s primary research area is the pathogenesis of post-traumatic osteoarthritis following joint injury, with a specific focus on the trafficking of stem and progenitor cells following injury and how these cells modulate the onset of joint degeneration. By studying intrinsic mechanisms responsible for regulating stem cell migration to injured joint tissues and their downstream modulation of the inflammatory response, the contribution of stem cells in thwarting the development of osteoarthritis can be defined. Ultimately, these studies will help develop novel interventional therapies exploiting stem cell activity to address the high incidence of joint degeneration following major joint injuries such as anterior cruciate ligament rupture, intraarticular fracture, and large chondral lesions. In addition to this topic, Dr. Maerz is interested in rotator cuff pathology and how novel stem cell-based or biologics-based treatments can improve tendon-to-bone healing. Dr. Maerz works closely with both basic science faculty and clinical faculty collaborators on these areas of interest, and he combines engineering-based techniques with molecular biology and quantitative imaging to apply a multifaceted approach to addressing scientific hypotheses.

Research Interests

Cellular and molecular mechanisms of post-traumatic osteoarthritis. mesenchymal stem cell migration and chemotaxis. Rotator cuff pathology, treatment, and healing. Quantitative morphological imaging of bone and articular cartilage. Non-invasive molecular imaging of inflammation and matrix degradation.


Degree: B.S. in Biomedical Engineering (2009); M.S. in Biomedical Engineering (2011); Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering (2015).

Office Location

University of Michigan
Orthopaedic Research Laboratories
A. Alfred Taubman Biomedical Science Research Building, Office #2017
109 Zina Pitcher Place
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2200