Research & Clinical Personnel

Dr. Paul C. McAfee, M.D., M.B.A.
Medical Director

Dr. McAfee supports the Spine Training Program at Johns Hopkins and Union Memorial Hospitals, and has a traveling fellowship to teach other spine surgeons around the world. Dr. McAfee serves as the Medical Director of the laboratory at St. Joseph Medical Center and has conducted research and published extensively on biomechanics of the spine. He has been head of the Johns Hopkins spinal reconstructive surgery program and serves as Associate Professor of Orthopaedics, with a joint appointment in Neurosurgery. For more information please visit

Dr. Bryan W. Cunningham, Ph.D.
Director of Spinal Research

Bryan W. Cunningham has been the Director of the Spinal Research Laboratory since its inception in 1988. His current research projects incorporate the most advanced technologies in spinal implants, instrumentation techniques and the biological outcomes of spine surgery using bone graft substitutes and methods of spinal reconstruction. His articles have been published in SPINE, Journal of Neurosurgery, The Spine Journal, The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery and Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research as well as several chapters in academic textbooks over the years. He frequently lectures nationally and internationally at spinal symposiums, and is a staff member of the Griffith Center for Musculoskeletal Research.

Ashley Murgatroyd

Ashley Murgatroyd B.S. - Biology
Research Assistant

A member of the team since September 2011, Ashley oversees all aspects of the histology lab. She actively attends national seminars on the latest histology and tissue embedding techniques to further her skills and disseminate the information to her colleagues, thus keeping the laboratory on the cutting edge of histology science. Ashley is also in charge of maintaining the laboratory, ensuring lab personnel are current with Standard Operating Procedures, and coordinating the non-clinical research fellowship program.

Ken Mullinix

Ken Mullinix B.A. - Behavioral Neuroscience
Research Assistant

Ken oversees the histomorphometry and image analysis component of the laboratory. A background in computers, biology, and photography, has given Ken a unique set of skills he is able to call upon on a daily basis. Since joining the lab in 2011, he has developed a novel approach to volumetric bone analysis using a 3D bone modeling technique. This technique enables 3D volumetric analysis of an entire spine from standard CT images. Ken also assists in surgeries and analyzes biomechanical data with the help of a software program he has written to expedite the process.

Xiaolei (David) Sun, M.D.
Research Fellow (2012-2014)

Dr. Sun comes to us from the Tanjin Medical Univesity to expand his medical expertise in orthopaedics and to share this knowledge with his orthopaedic colleagues in China. Dr. Sun is a graduate of the Tanjin Medical University, with a focus in medical research and orthopaedics. While here in the U.S., Dr. Sun will be learning a combination of surgical and histological techniques that will strengthen his knowledge both as a physician and as a researcher. Dr. Sun will also be developing an independent spinal research project of his choosing to be carried out over the course of his fellowship.

Jeff Gordon

Jeff Gordon, M.Sc. Eng.
Engineering & Design

After obtaining a Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Vanderbilt University, Jeff went on to further the science of orthopaedic research & development. He now has 16 years experience in the field of Biomechanical Engineering, 12 of which have been with the Orthopaedic Spinal Institute. Jeff has played an instrumental role in developing many of the biomechanical testing devices used in the laboratory, such as the 6 degree of freedom (6DOF) spine simulator, as well as the sensors and circuitry involved in the data acquisition of these devices.

Dr. Carlos M. Orbegoso, M.D. FCAP

Dr. Orbegoso is an associate pathologist for The Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. He has served as a research pathologist with the Orthopaedic Spinal Institute since 1992. Dr. Orbegoso is a member of multiple medical associations, including: The American College Of International Physicians, The College of American Pathologists, The Maryland Society Of Pathology, and The Peruvian American Medical Society. He has authored many papers in the area of pathology and spinal pathology research during a career spanning more than 35 years.