UPenn Research Team


Frederick S. Kaplan, M.D.

Photo of Dr. Kaplan

Frederick S. Kaplan, M.D., is the Isaac and Rose Nassau Professor of Orthopaedic Molecular Medicine and Chief of the Division of Molecular Orthopaedic Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania. An alumnus of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Kaplan was Chief Resident in Orthopaedics at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. It was here at Penn’s Laboratory of Orthopaedic Surgery Research that he was introduced to basic scientific investigations of the musculoskeletal system.

Kaplan's subsequent exposure to molecular biology and human genetics as the John A. Hartford Foundation Research Fellow from 1989 to 1991 in the laboratory of his mentor and friend Dr. Michael Zasloff provided the stimulus for his long-held interest in probing the molecular pathophysiology of skeletal disorders. This led to his exploration of the mechanisms for heterotopic bone formation, for identifying the genetics and molecular pathology of fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP), and for identifying another disorder of heterotopic ossification in children, progressive osseous heteroplasia (POH) and its molecular basis. He now leads the only center dedicated exclusively to the basic research and amelioration of such disorders, the Center for Research in FOP and Related Disorders.

Kaplan has received numerous awards and honors including Best Doctors in America and was recognized as an American Hero by Newsweek magazine. Kaplan is a member of the prestigious Institute of Medicine of The National Academy of Sciences of the United States. He has authored hundreds of articles in peer-reviewed journals, books, books chapters, and other publications. Kaplan also is an award-winning mentor and teacher.

Information courtesy of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.



Eileen M. Shore, Ph.D.

Photo of Dr. Shore

Eileen M. Shore, Ph.D., is the Cali and Weldon FOP Research Professor in the Departments of Orthopaedics and Genetics in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and is the co-Director of the Center for Research in FOP and Related Disorders. Using molecular biology and genetics approaches to investigate cell differentiation and development in human genetic disease, her research focuses on two rare disorders of de novo formation of extra-skeletal bone, fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) and progressive osseous heteroplasia (POH) with the goal of applying knowledge gained through laboratory research to developing treatments for these conditions. Her work led to the discovery of the mutated genes in both FOP and POH, and she currently investigates the cellular targets and molecular pathways involved in regulation of cell differentiation leading to cartilage and bone formation and identifying and testing potential therapeutic strategies.

Shore attended the University of Notre Dame (B.S., Biology), Indiana University (M.A., Biology), and the University of Pennsylvania (Ph.D., Cell and Molecular Biology). Following postdoctoral studies at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, she joined the faculty of Penn's Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. She is also a member of the Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Group, the Genomics Institute, the Penn Center for Musculoskeletal Disorders, and the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics.

Over the years she has been the recipient of several awards in her field, including a Johnson & Johnson Focused Giving Award, a Rita Allen Foundation Award, and an AIMM Young Investigator Award. She holds several ongoing grants, including from the National Institutes of Health. Shore has published over 100 original articles in peer-reviewed journals. She has previously been the President of the Advances in Mineral Metabolism Board of Directors and is a member of the Council of the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research.


Dr. Robert J. PignoloRobert Pignolo CMYK

Dr. Robert J. Pignolo is the Ian Cali Clinical and Research Scholar in the Center for Research in FOP and Related Disorders and Associate Professor in
the Departments of Medicine and Orthopaedic Surgery in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the recipient of the Austrian Award for Outstanding Junior Faculty Bench Research, the Advances in Mineral Metabolism (AIMM) – American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) John Haddad Young Investigator Award, and the ASBMR Early Career Excellence in Teaching Award. He is director of Ralston-Penn Clinic for Osteoporosis and Related Bone Disorders since 2004, and has conducted basic and clinical research on FOP since 2003. Currently, he oversees the FOP Preclinical Drug Testing and Biomarker Development Program in the Center for FOP and Related Disorders.

Information courtesy of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.


FOP Laboratory










The FOP Research Laboratory, created in 1992, is located at one of the most prestigious medical and research institutions in the country -- the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Led by Frederick Kaplan, M.D., and Eileen Shore, Ph.D., the FOP Research Laboratory’s dedicated research team includes three (3) principal investigators with many post-doctoral fellows, scientists, students and staff. This core team collaborates with physicians and scientists worldwide to develop treatments and -- someday -- a cure for FOP.

The FOP Research Lab’s seminal work has been highlighted in many prestigious medical publications, including the New England Journal of Medicine, Nature Genetics, The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Clinical Orthopaedics, and The Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

Much of FOP research takes place at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where a research laboratory devoted to FOP exists, the search for answers is part of a worldwide effort by many individuals and research teams over the past fifteen years. Scientific members of the International Research Consortium in Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Korea, the United Kingdom, and throughout the United States have identified multigenerational families who helped us discover the FOP gene, as well as making other important contributions to FOP research. People with FOP have generously provided blood and tissue samples and helped to raise the funds that are needed to sustain the research effort. In fact, most of FOP research is funded by FOP families, their friends, and their communities. FOP research is a team effort that could not take place without the efforts of all involved.


Annual Reports

The Annual Reports of the FOP Collaborative Research Project offers a comprehensive look at how the FOP research effort has evolved over the course of a year. They include reports of specific experiments conducted, as well as overviews of future experiments and overall dealings in the Lab itself.

Download the report for the best interactive reading experience. To read click Twenty-Fifth Annual Report of the FOP Collaborative Research Project (in PDF format).

Click here to view our collection of Annual Reports from years past, as well as reports translated into other languages (Deutsch, Português, Español, Français).