A L U M N I P R O F I L E Antonia Chen, MD ’08, MBA: A Young Leader for a New Generation in Health Care —Continued from page 37 A s an applicant to Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Dr. Chen was attracted by the opportunity to earn a dual degree: a master’s in business administration in addition to a medical degree. “Health care was going in new directions at the time—including . . . a shift toward an increasing number of physician leaders on the administrative side of hospitals and health care systems,” she says. our patients get up and walk on the same day as their surgery,” says Dr. Chen. She found this subspecialty particularly rewarding and realized that Dr. Tria had inspired her to pursue a career in academic orthopedics. An outstanding medical student, Dr. Chen was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and received numerous awards at graduation. She completed her residency in orthopedic surgery under Freddie H. Fu, MD, David Silver Professor and chair, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, where she pursued her interest in hip and knee replacement. During her residency, she also developed an interest in researching periprosthetic joint infections (infections around a prosthetic joint), which she further explored in a one-year fellowship in adult reconstruction at the Rothman Institute. After graduation, Dr. Chen was invited to stay on as faculty and is now in her second year as an attending physician. Only 4 percent of practicing orthopedic surgeons are women, and the percentage of women in academic orthopedic surgery is even smaller. “When I meet patients in clinic, some don’t believe that I’m the surgeon,” Dr. Chen says. Always an athlete—tennis and swimming in high school, tae kwon do in college—she maintains the physical strength required in her specialty and has learned to use leverage to provide the force needed to perform her surgeries. Independent Research: Combating Periprosthetic Infection A s a third-year medical student, Dr. Chen was accepted into the Distinction in Research (DIR) program at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, then in its pilot phase. To complete her self-designed research project, she spent a year that she describes as “enlightening,” studying DNA damage in cartilage at Duke University School of Medicine. Today at the Rothman Institute, Dr. Chen devotes half her time to her original research. She spends part of her time studying tissue stiffness (arthrofibrosis) after surgery with a collaborative group at Sidney Kimmel Medical College called the Scientific Consortium for Arthrofibrosis Research (SCAR). Her other work focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of periprosthetic joint infections (PJI). Although PJI is a relatively uncommon occurrence, it can be devastating, as it often necessitates additional surgery and can even result in the loss of a limb. The rate of PJI at Rothman has been reduced to 0.5 percent, but the goal is to improve treatment when infection does occur and, ultimately, to prevent it entirely. Postoperative diagnosis of PJI relies on multiple tests, including the identification of serum biomarkers found in most inflammatory conditions. Dr. Chen intends to provide a more accurate means of recognizing or ruling out infection by identifying biomarkers that are specific to PJI. In addition, she seeks to identify conditions that raise the risk of PJI— including obesity, a history of smoking, malnutrition, and diabetes. This knowledge would alert surgeons to their patient’s heightened risk and allow them to take preventive steps, when possible. In recognition of Dr. Chen’s research and her leadership in the field, her colleagues in the Musculoskeletal Infection Society have elected her to serve as president from 2017 to 2018. “Dr. Chen’s broad intellect and original research quickly earned international recognition,” says Dr. Rothman. She is the author of more than 85 peer-reviewed research publications, two books, and 24 textbook chapters. In addition, she has presented more than 200 podium and poster presentations and earned multiple awards for her research, beginning in her years as a medical student. Her published work includes The Little Ortho Book: The Bare Bones of Orthopedics, a pocket-size introduction to the world of orthopedics. 46 Robert Wood Johnson I MEDICINE