You Are Here:

Zong-Ming Li, PhD

Orthopedics – Research
Vice Chair, Research
Dr. Zong-Ming Li, PhD

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
PO Box 245064
Tucson, AZ 85724-5064

William and Sylvia Rubin Chair of Orthopaedic Research
Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery
Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Professor of BIO5 Institute
Vice Chair for Research, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
Associate Director, University of Arizona Arthritis Center
Director, Robert G. Volz, MD, Orthopaedic Research Laboratories
Director, Hand Research Laboratory


Make an appointment: Book via Banner Health or call 520-694-8000.


Zong-Ming Li, PhD, is the William and Sylvia Rubin Chair of Orthopedic Research, and Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, Biomedical Engineering and BIO5 Institute at the University of Arizona. Dr. Li also serves as the Vice Chair for Research in Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Director of Robert G. Volz, MD Orthopedic Research Laboratories, Associate Director of University of Arizona Arthritis Center, and Director of the Hand Research Laboratory.

Prior to moving to University of Arizona, Dr. Li was a Full Professor in Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, and held appointments as Full Staff in the Departments of Biomedical Engineering, Orthopedic Surgery, and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at the Cleveland Clinic. While in Cleveland, Dr. Li was an Adjunct Professor in Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at the Cleveland State University where he served as the Co-Chair of the Applied Biomedical Engineering PhD Program, a joint educational establishment between Cleveland Clinic and Cleveland State University.

Dr. Li has more than 30 years of experience in musculoskeletal research and education, including (1) his current position as Professor in Orthopedic Surgery and Biomedical Engineering (2019-); (2) Professor and Staff at the Cleveland Clinic in Biomedical Engineering, Orthopedic Surgery, and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (2009-2019); (2) Assistant/Associate Professor in Orthopedic Surgery, Bioengineering, and Occupational Therapy at the University of Pittsburgh (2001-2009); (3) Assistant Professor in Physical Therapy at Walsh University (1998-2001); (4) doctoral studies in biomechanics at the Pennsylvania State University (1995-1998); (5) research experience in orthopedic biomechanics at the Shanghai Institute of Orthopaedics and Traumatology of Ruijin Hospital (1992-1995); (6) graduate studies for a Master’s degree in musculoskeletal biomechanics from the Sichuan University (1989-1992); and (7) undergraduate studies in engineering mechanics and a bachelor’s thesis in sports biomechanics from the Southwest Jiaotong University in China (1985-1989).

Dr. Li has research interests in musculoskeletal biomechanics, with a particular focus on the hand and upper extremity. His research has been sponsored by more than 40 grants from the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Whitaker Foundation, Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation, Aircast Foundation and other private foundations. He has published more than 125 peer-reviewed articles in 51 journals, given more than 130 invited lectures worldwide, and presented over 350 podium and poster presentations in professional conferences. His research work has resulted in significant impact on biomechanics and motor control of the musculoskeletal function and dysfunction, particularly for the hand and upper extremity. Dr. Li is a Fellow of the College of Fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) and a Fellow of American Society of Biomechanics (ASB). Dr. Li is the recipient of the ASME Savio L-Y. Woo Translational Biomechanics Medal in 2022, “for seminal discovery of sensorimotor control function and biomechanics of the human hand, and for translating knowledge into innovative clinical solutions including relieving the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.”

As an enthusiastic supporter and contributor to his profession, Dr. Li has served on the editorial boards of 16 journals related to bioengineering and orthopaedics, and has reviewed manuscripts for more than 30 professional journals. He is currently an Honorable Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Medical and Biological Engineering, Associate Editor-in-Chief for the Chinese Journal of Biomedical Engineering, Associate Editor of Journal of Wrist Surgery, Associate Editor of Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, and Associate Editor of Journal of Mechanics in Medicine and Biology. He has also served as an Associate Editor for Journal of Biomechanical Engineering, and Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Li currently serves as the Chair of Scientific Review Committee IV of National Health Research Institute of Taiwan. He has served as a grant reviewer for federal agencies and private foundations including the NIH (as a standing member), Whitaker Foundation, Aircast Foundation, University Grants Committee of Hong Kong, National Health Research Institute of Taiwan, National Medical Research Council of Singapore, and American Society for Surgery of the Hand, among others. He has extensively contributed to organizing national and international conferences related to orthopaedics, bioengineering, rehabilitation, kinesiology, and biomechanics.

In his service to professional societies, Dr. Li was the President of the World Association for Chinese Biomedical Engineers (WACBE, 2013-2015), a member of the Executive Board of the American Society of Biomechanics (ASB, 2009-2012), Co-Chair of the Upper Extremity Topic Committee of the Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS, 2007-2009), a member of the Research Management Committee of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH, 2014-2017) and Chair of the Hand and Wrist Topic Committee of Orthpaedic Research Society (ORS, 2020-2022). He is the current Chair of the Board of Directors for Hand and Wrist Biomechanics International (HWBI, 2012-), a specialty interested group affiliated with the International Society of Biomechanics (ISB) and International Federation of Societies for Surgery of the Hand (IFSSH).

Education & Training

  • PhD: Biomechanics, Pennsylvania State University, 1998
  • MSc: Musculoskeletal Biomechanics, Sichuan University, China, 1992
  • BSc: Engineering Mechanics, Southwest Jiaotong University, 1989

Research Interests

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Hand Arthritis

Musculoskeletal Imaging

Musculoskeletal Biomechanics and Rehabilitation

Biomechanics and Motor Control of the Hand

Biomechanics of Shoulder Arthroplasty

Neuromuscular Control