James D. Kang, MD

Dr. James KangDr. James Kang is the UPMC Endowed Chair in Orthopaedic Spine Surgery, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He is also a Tenured Professor in the Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and of Neurological Surgery, with a secondary appointment in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Dr. Kang also serves as the Vice-Chairman, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, and the Director of the Ferguson Laboratory and Musculoskeletal Research Center in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.

Dr. Kang completed his education with an MD from the University of Oklahoma, School of Medicine in 1986. After finishing his residency at the University of Pittsburgh in 1992, Dr. Kang followed through with a spine surgery fellowship at Case Western Reserve University, School of Medicine, under the director Dr. Henry Bohlman. Currently, Dr. Kang is clinically active in the treatment of degenerative spinal disorders, scoliosis, spinal stenosis, and herniated discs (lumbar and cervical). He also has interests in the practice of minimally invasive spine surgery.

Dr. Kangs current research interests include:

  • biochemistry of lapine and human intervertebral discs: an in vitro analysis of neutral metallo-protease and cytokine production
  • nitric oxide production by human intervertebral discs in vitro
  • biochemical response of intervertebral disc cells to vibration in a pressure chamber
  • biomechanical analysis of subaxial cervical spine with axial rotation loads
  • finite element analysis of cervical spine
  • robotics application to spinal biomechanical research
  • gene therapy towards healing and preventing intervertebral disc degeneration
  • in vivo analysis of cervical and lumbar spine kinematics
  • animal models of disc degeneration

Dr. Kang has authored over 600 publications as a result of both his clinical practice and his research interests. Due to his contributions to his field, he has been the recipient of many awards including the highest societal awards for spinal research conferred by the leading international spine societies: The International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine, the Cervical Spine Research Society, and the North American Spine Society. Dr. Kang is on the Board of Directors and the Outcomes Analysis Committee of the National Spine Network and also on the Board of Directors and is the past President of the Korean American Spine Society. He has been honored to be named the incoming President of the International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine.

As a result of his clinical practice, Dr. Kang has become an international leader in the basic science and clinical treatment of intervertebral disc degeneration and is actively involved with an accomplished research team focusing on the biochemistry of disc degeneration, gene therapy application to disc degeneration, and the biomechanics of the spine.

View a list of Dr. Kangs publications here.


Dr. James Kang
Phone: (412) 605-3241
Email: kangjd@upmc.edu