You Are Here:

The Hand Research Laboratory (Hand Lab) at the University of Arizona performs orthopedic biomechanics and rehabilitation research of the hand and upper extremity and is affiliated with the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Arizona Arthritis Center and BIO5 Institute.

Our research involves cutting-edge, bioengineering technology, including motion analysis, ultrasound imaging, computer tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, electromyography, robotics and computational modeling.

Current projects include investigations into thumb caropmetacarpal joint arthritis, collagenolysis of the transverse carpal ligament, biomechanical treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome and others.

Learn more about select projects

Image for finger coordination study at the Hand Research Laboratory

News & Announcements

Zong-Ming Li Named IEEE Fellow

Dec. 15, 2022: Zong-Ming Li, PhD, vice chair for research in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, has been named an IEEE Fellow for his contributions to carpal tunnel biomechanics and neuromuscular hand motor control. Read more

Award to Advance Ultrasound Imaging with Machine Learning

Dec. 12, 2022: The Hand Research Laboratory has been awarded $140,425 by the UArizona Office of Research, Innovation & Impact for machine learning research to advance the use of ultrasound imaging in evaluating the carpal arch. Read more

Sensor Lab Awards Seed Grant for Carpal Arch Device

Dec. 5, 2022: The University of Arizona Health Sciences Sensor Lab has awarded the Hand Lab a seed grant of up to $50,000 to support development of a pressure device for carpal arch space augmentation.

David Jordan Named Finalist for ORS Research Award

Dec. 4, 2022: David Jordan, PhD, MS, has been named a finalist for the Orthopaedic Research Society's New Investigator Research Award. Jordan will deliver “Dynamic Response of the First Carpometacarpal Joint During Pinching” as a podium presentation and display a poster at the society's 2023 meeting, February 10–14, in Dallas.

David Jordan Awarded NIH Grant

Sept. 1, 2022: The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), a division of the National Institutes of Health, awarded a two-year, $217,800 grant to David Jordan, PhD, MS, postdoctoral research associate with the Hand Research Laboratory. The funding will promote diversity in health-related research, furthering Jordan’s research into the prevalence of hand arthritis using data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI). Read more

HandLab at SB3C in Maryland

June 27, 2022: UArizona scientists joined researchers from around the world for the 2022 Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering and Biotransport Conference (SB3C) in Cambridge, Maryland.

Hand Lab director Dr. Zong-Ming Li delivered the conference's opening lecture on Carpal Tunnel Space Augmentation as the recipient of 2022 Savio L-Y. Woo Translational Biomechanics MedalThe Hand Research

The lab was also represented by two podium and one poster presentation:

  • Hui Zhang, PhD, presented his work on Carpal Arch Space Augmentation by Volarly Applied Force on the Skin Surface – A Finite Element Study
  • Jocelyn Hawk presented her work on Dose- and Time-Dependent Effects of Collagenase Clostridium Histolyticum Injection on Stiffness and Thickness of In Vitro Transverse Carpal Ligament
  • David Jordan, PhD, presented on the Three dimensional reconstruction and analysis of the median nerve using robot assisted ultrasonography.

Honoring Endowed Chairs & Their Donors

March 23, 2022: Michael Abecassis, MD, MBA, Dean of College of Medicine, hosted an event to recognize endowed chairs, their donors and the future of medicine. Two years into his appointment as William and Sylvia Rubin Chair for Orthopaedic Research, Zong-Ming Li, PhD, was presented with a medallion commemorating the honor. Tucson mayor Regina Romero delivered an in-person keynote and congratulations.

Hand Lab at ORS Conference in Florida

Feb. 2, 2022: The Hand Research Laboratory delivered one podium presentation and five posters at the 2022 annual meeting of the Orthopaedic Research Society in Tampa, FL, attended by more than 1,700 researchers and students from around the world:

  • Kendra Coleman, UArizona medical student, gave a podium presentation on Thumb Carpometacarpal Joint Laxity in Pre- and Post-menopausal Women
  • Hui Zhang, PhD, presented two posters on Segmentation of Transverse Carpal Ligament in Ultrasound Images Using Convolutional Neural Network and In Vivo Examination of Thenar Muscle Origins on the Transverse Carpal Ligament by 3-D Ultrasound Reconstruction
  • Jocelyn Hawk presented two posters on Load-dependent Shear Wave Elastography of the Transverse Carpal Ligament and In Situ Needle Insertion To The Transverse Carpal Ligament Using Robot-assisted Ultrasound
  • David Jordan, PhD, a postdoctoral research associate, presented one poster on Cross-sectional Changes of the Distal Carpal Tunnel with Simulated Carpal Bone Rotation

Kent Kwoh Awarded NIH R01 Grant

Jan. 27, 2022: A research team including Zong-Ming Li, PhD, vice chair for research in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and associate director of the UArizona Arthritis Center was awarded a $2.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to explore how changes in knee joints might predict future pain, functional limitations and need for knee replacements. Read more 

Zong-Ming Li Honored with 2022 Savio L-Y. Woo Translational Biomechanics Medal

Jan. 20, 2022: Hand Lab Director Zong-Ming Li, PhD, was honored with the 2022 Savio L-Y. Woo Translational Biomechanics Medal, established in 2015. The medal recognizes translation of "meritorious bioengineering science to clinical practice," such as through novel devices or equipment. For Dr. Li, receiving an award named after Savio L-Y. Woo is especially meaningful, as earlier in his career Dr. Li spent time in Dr. Woo’s Musculoskeletal Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh. Read more

Join Our Research

You Make the Difference

Clinical studies are the key to improving health care with new knowledge and treatments. A UArizona Institutional Review Board responsible for research with people as participants reviews all studies for compliance with state and federal regulations and University policies designed to protect participants' rights and welfare.


Carpal Tunnel Study

We are currently seeking people with carpal tunnel syndrome. Study participants will be paid and will have free parking at our lab, located at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson.

For more info, please contact our Clinical Research Coordinator, Farah Alsafar, at (520) 626 3951 or by email:

Join Our Team

Working at the Arizona Performance Lab

Lab work offers valuable experience for future health care careers, as well as other careers in science, technology and engineering. We are always interested in meeting possible research assistants.

We have no openings right now, but resumes are always welcome by email.

Dr. Zong-Ming Li, PhD

Meet Lab Director Zong-Ming Li, PhD

Zong-Ming Li, PhD, is the William and Sylvia Rubin Chair of Orthopaedic Research, Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Associate Director of the University of Arizona Arthritis Center, leading the universityʼs efforts in musculoskeletal research. Dr. Li's research interests include arthritis, biomechanics, clinical outcomes, computational modeling, hand and wrist, human movement, ligaments and tendons, MSK imaging, nerve and rehabilitation.

See Journal Articles on PubMed

Mailing Address

University of Arizona
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
1501 N. Campbell Ave.
PO Box 245064, Room 8401
Tucson, AZ 85724

Lab Location

Medical Tower 4
8th floor, Rooms 8352, 8354 & 8356
Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryCollege of Medicine - Tucson



(520) 626-4916



Directions to the Hand Lab

The HandLab is located in University of Arizona College of Medicine. Follow the pedestrian walkway from parking garage A or B to main elevators in Tower 4 (old hospital entrance to old hospital lobby is closed). Enter the elevators and take it to the 8th floor. Just adjacent to the elevator lobby enter the double doors on the left, turn immediately right and follow the hallway all the way to the end where you will reach the locked door to the lab.