Dr. Richard J. McMurtrey, MD, MSc is an accomplished physician, surgeon, scientist, and engineer, with clinical expertise in complex minimally-invasive surgical procedures in orthopedics & neurosurgery combined with a focus on regenerative medicine. He holds degrees with highest honors in medicine and surgery, biomedical engineering, and neuroscience. As the medical director of AAMI, Dr. McMurtrey has led new advancements in minimally-invasive interventions for sports medicine, critical care medicine, orthopedic surgery, as well as complex spine, brain, nerve, & pain conditions with state-of-the-art diagnostics and cutting-edge image-guided procedures for optimized injury recovery and regenerative repair of many types of pathologies and disorders. This is complemented by his high-impact research in tissue engineering, stem cell biology, regenerative medicine, biomaterials, and the synthesis of biochemical cell signaling cues with minimally-invasive tissue repair mechanisms and interventions.
Dr. McMurtrey was distinguished as one of the top innovators for his work at the University of Oxford (including the Oxford Institute of Biomedical Engineering, the Department of Engineering Science, and the Oxbridge Biotech Roundtable), where he pioneered new tissue engineering techniques for growing mini-organs from patient's own stem cells, elucidated stem cell signaling pathways, and won top awards for his innovative design of novel biomedical devices. He has led significant research in both academics and private industry, including work on molecular signaling pathways of cellular regeneration, tissue formation, neuroprotection, and electrophysiologic modeling, and he has published work in several prestigious academic journals including Tissue Engineering, Stem Cells & Development, Journal of Tissue Engineering, Journal of Neural Engineering, Neural Regeneration Research, and Brain Research, which works have been highly cited by many hundreds of scientists around the world. Dr. McMurtrey also co-authored the stem cell & tissue engineering textbook Organoids and Mini-Organs (Elsevier Academic Press, University of Edinburgh) as an adjunct professor of neuroscience. He trained at top-ranked programs in neurosurgery, general surgery, anesthesiology, and critical care, with significant time spent working in trauma surgery, spine surgery, intensive care, pain management, and interventional surgical procedures at several Level 1 Trauma Centers including the University of Virginia Medical Center, the University of Colorado Hospital, Denver County Hospital, and Children's Hospital Colorado, plus additional experience at the Oxford University Hospitals, Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology, and Musculoskeletal Sciences, and Oxford Orthopaedic Engineering Centre. He enjoys keeping up to date with the latest cutting-edge research, treatments, and techniques in a variety of disciplines, and he is licensed to practice medicine and surgery in both Utah and Colorado.
Dr. McMurtrey (aka "RJ") has focused his passion in academics, working hard to integrate his surgical training with new approaches and new discoveries in medicine, curiously reading research journals late into the night, presenting at medical conferences, working evenings and weekends in university research laboratories every year from high school through grad school and residency, and acing every course along the way while also further exploring and advancing the limits of our knowledge. Moreover, he also has the unique perspective of being an athlete who has suffered numerous sports injuries himself, including broken bones, dislocated shoulders, herniated discs, torn tendons, impinged nerves, and just about every other conceivable injury, which gave him immense compassion for his own patients and set him on a unique path of studying new minimally-invasive approaches that better repair injuries, regenerate tissue functions, target underlying causes rather than just treat symptoms, and dramatically improve long-term healing and recovery. He also helped his brother recover from many injuries suffered while serving in the Marines and deploying on several tours of duty in Afghanistan.
Growing up in the mountains of Colorado, Dr. McMurtrey came to value the inspiration of the outdoor wilderness and became an avid alpine climber and ultra-marathon runner who loves trail running through remote mountains (with dreams of someday returning to Chamonix to run the UTMB). He also played Division 1 intercollegiate rugby and professional rugby with the Colorado Raptors (wing and flanker positions), and he has since worked with many professional athletes around the world, from the U.S. to the U.K. and Europe. Dr. McMurtrey currently holds the 35+ age division record in the Utah Valley 10K race and won 2nd place in his age division in the XTERRA Trail Running National Championship. Dr. McMurtrey has also trekked hundreds of miles through Patagonia and the Karakoram region, climbed on Trango Tower, completed the entire Cirque of the Towers traverse through the Wind River range, climbed the Diamond of Longs Peak multiple times (D7, Yellow Wall, etc.), summited the Grand Teton via Direct Petzoldt and Exum ridges, completed one of the longest sport routes (Squawstruck), climbed classic routes like the Rainbow Wall Original Route, Levitation 29, and Resolution Arete at Red Rock Canyon, completed numerous technical alpine mixed routes (Stairway to Heaven in Utah, Mixed Master in Canada), established several first ascents in Colorado, and has climbed multiple 5.13/WI6/M10/Grade V routes. In his younger years he was also a dedicated pianist and performed many of his favorite works by Rachmaninoff and Beethoven. He is continually fascinated with the vast depth of potential encoded in the molecular biology of stem cells and intrigued by the physiologic mechanisms that enable extraordinary neuromuscular performance and tissue regeneration, with many interesting questions still remaining to be explored. Besides helping to bring relief and healing to his patients, his greatest joy is introducing his three children to the wonders of nature.
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