Robert L. Zondervan


Since leaving the lab, Rob Zondervan has earned a DO/PhD student in the College of Osteopathic Medicine and Department of Physiology at Michigan State University. Rob grew up in Southern California, but ventured to Maine to receive his undergraduate degree at Colby College. From there Rob traveled south to Boston where he was an analyst at the Tumor Imaging Metrics Core at Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center and earned his masters degree at Boston University. When Rob wasn't at work or in classes you could find him on the Charles River rowing for Riverside Boat Club. After Boston, Rob returned to Maine to begin his medical school career at the University of New England. During his first summer of medical school, Rob pursued a research opportunity in orthopedics at Michigan State University. The idea of being a research clinician inspired him to transfer and pursue a dual-degree in Michigan—officially deeming him ‘tri-costal’.

Rob’s work in the Hankenson Laboratory is focused on fracture healing. He investigated the role of Thrombospondins—multidomain glycoproteins that inhibit neo-vascularization—in ischemic fractures. Results from this research will contribute to a greater understanding of bone biology and potentially develop therapies based on disruption of thrombospondin pathways. After completion of his degrees at Michigan State University, Rob plans to join a residency in orthopaedic surgery. Outside of the lab, Rob and his wife are usually hiking, cooking, gardening, listening to records, or playing with Ru--their odd cat (#Ruesday).

Katie & Rob backpacking in Cutler, ME

Ru the cat

Dream Come True & Rainbow Niagara

No more time for this


  • 2007 Bachelor of Arts - Colby College, Waterville, ME
  • 2011 Master of Arts - Boston University, Boston, MA
  • 2020 (expected) Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine/Doctor of Philosophy in Physiology - Michigan State University, Lansing, MI

Honors & Awards

  • 2008 Research and Education Foundation Support Award - Radiological Society of North America
  • 2009 Partners in Excellence Award - Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center
  • 2011 Poster of Distinction Award - Massachusetts General Hospital
  • 2012 First Place Oral Presentation - University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine Research Week
  • 2013 Humanism in Aging Action Award - University of New England
  • 2013 Alexander R. Margulis Award for Scientific Excellence (Finalist) - Radiological Society of North America
  • 2014 Meites Pre-Comprehensive Scholarship for Excellence in Physiology - Michigan State University
  • 2015 Orthopaedic Joint Testing Scholarship - Force and Motion Foundation
  • 2016 First Place Paper - American Osteopathic Academy of Orthopedics Annual Meeting
  • 2018 First Place Business Plan Poster Competition - Orthopaedic Research Society
  • 2018 Third Place Research Competition - Orthopaedic Research Society/International Society for Fracture Research
  • 2018 Meites Post-Comprehensive Scholarship for Excellence in Physiology - Michigan State University


  • 2011 Carman Pettapiece Research Fellowship - University of New England
  • 2012 Dean’s Research Fellowship - University of New England
  • 2015 Research Grant - DePuy Synthes
  • 2017 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service (NRSA) Dual-Doctoral Degree Fellowship - National Institutes of Health (F30 AR071201)

Service and Organizations

  • Orthopaedic Research Society - Social Media Liaison*; International Section of Fracture Repair Member; Preclinical Models Section Member
  • Student American Osteopathic Academy of Orthopedics - Member
  • Michigan Osteopathic Association - Member
  • Michigan State Medical Society - Member

*Rob tweets a fracture research update every Friday (#FractureFriday)

Recent Publications

  • Bahney CS*, Zondervan RL*, Allison P, Theologis A, Ashley J, Ahn J, Miclau T, Marcucio R, Hankenson KD. The Cellular Biology of Fracture Healing. JOR. 2018. *Co-First Authors
  • Zondervan RL, Vorce M, Servadio N, Hankenson KD. Fracture Apparatus Design and Protocol Optimization for Closed-Stabilized Fractures in Rodents. JOVE. 2018.
  • Knight MN, Karuppaiah K, Lowe M, Mohanty S, Zondervan RL, Bell S, Ahn J, Hankenson KD. R-spondin-2 is an osteoblast-produced Wnt agonist that regulates osteoblastogenesis. Bone Research. 2018.
  • Saper MG, Pearce S, Shung J, Zondervan RL, Ostrander III RV, Andrews JR. Outcomes and Return to Sports After Revision ACL Reconstruction in Adolescent Athletes. Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine. 2018.
  • Youngstrom DW, Senos R, Zondervan RL, Brodeur JD, Lints AR, Young DR, Mitchell TL, Moore ME, Myers MH, Tseng WJ, Loomes KM, Hankenson KD. Intraoperative delivery of the Notch ligand Jagged-1 regenerates appendicular and craniofacial bone defects. Npj Regenerative Medicine. 2017.
  • Zondervan RL. Sterile case for electronic devices used in medical procedures. U.S. Patent 9,642,429 & 9,930,946; Canadian Patent 2,937,933; European Patent 301,233. 2017.


Please refer to the Research Section