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Our group aims to understand the biology of common hand conditions, as well as other related surgical disorders. We use this knowledge to develop and test new treatments for these disabling conditions. We also investigate the epidemiology of hand and upper limb conditions, including hand trauma, to guide best practice.

Conditions of the hand have a major influence on the function of the whole individual. As a practicing hand surgeon, Dominic sees the problems these conditions cause for his patients.  These patients drive his group's research, striving for solutions which will improve his patients' lives. Many other surgical conditions are also poorly understood, and by wide-ranging collaboration the Furniss Group aims to develop new understanding of surgical disease, and ultimately new treatments.

Context

The hand is one of the most important parts of the musculoskeletal system. It is commonly how we sense and interact with our environment, and forms a pivotal place in our social exchanges. 

When the hand is affected by disease or trauma, it has a profound impact on the overall function of the individual.

Surgery and other treatments for common hand surgery conditions consume large amounts of NHS resources, and have a much larger cost to society as a whole.

Most hand diseases are caused by a combination of genetic predisposition and non-genetic ("environmental") factors.

OuR research

We aim to improve our understanding of the causes of hand conditions using a combined approach.

We investigate the genetics of large cohorts of patients and control individuals in order to define genes and variants that pre-dispose them to developing hand problems, and other surgical diseases.

In addition, we try to understand the non-genetic factors that cause common surgical conditions by analysing large global databases of routinely collected population health information.

Finally, we are involved in a number of clinical trials within hand surgery. We expect these trials to have a rapid impact on the quality of clinical care for our patients. The methodology is also applied to new experimental treatments generated from our basic science research. In this way, we work from bedside to laboratory bench, and back to the patient's bedside.

Related research themes