“Unveiling Catherine Ambrose, PhD: The Scientist, The Person”

October 2, 2023

Who is Dr. Catherine Ambrose?

The Scientist

After obtaining her Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis, she completed her terminal degrees in mechanical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Ambrose was appointed as an assistant professor at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston in 1993 and is now a Professor at UTHealth Houston in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery where she directs the Biomechanics, Bone Histomorphometry, and Densitometry Laboratories.

Dr. Ambrose is also an adjunct professor at Rice University, University of Texas at Austin, and a visiting professor at Texas A&M University. She has presented eighty-one abstracts, published forty-three peer-reviewed papers and six book chapters, raised over $4.3 million in research support, and holds three patents. Along with Dr. Heidi Kaplan, Dr. Ambrose was awarded this year an R21 NIH grant to study an advanced innovative method of treating implant-related infections.

Her major interests are in infection, osteoporosis, and the effects of various drugs on bone health. She has been recognized for her scientific contributions by being elected a fellow of the Orthopedic Research Society, a journal reviewer, and a National Institutes of Health and Department of Defense grant review panelist for many years.

The Person

Cathy Ambrose is a dedicated, unselfish, and optimistic person. Her dedication to the orthopedic program and medical school is evidenced by her repeated awards for mentoring students and residents in the research process and their careers. She has provided the platform, resources, and support to allow the orthopedic research program of the department to grow over the last 30 years while mentoring twenty-two orthopedic research fellows many of whom are now faculty at McGovern Medical School.

Fifty-two undergraduate and/or medical students have had the opportunity to be mentored by her allowing many of them to apply for orthopedic residency successfully. Her dedication to the medical school and department shines through her selfless service. Over the course of eight years, she actively contributed as a faculty senate member and later assumed the role of the faculty senate chair.

Furthermore, her commitment extended to critical positions such as vice chair and chair of the Animal Welfare Committee, pivotal in safeguarding ongoing animal research at our institution. Presently, she presides as the chair of the Institutional Anatomical Oversight Review Committee, ensuring the proper management of the school’s willed body and anatomical program.

Dr. Ambrose also serves on the Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects for UTHealth at Houston. Her wealth of organizational knowledge makes her a trusted advisor for the department’s scientific and educational events. She has consistently been a key resource for the department’s scientific and educational events, sought after for her wealth of organizational insight. As for her optimism, her perspective is consistently one of seeing the glass as more than half full.

Written by: Dr. James Kellam