Principal Investigator


Dr. Tom Appleton

PH.D. Western University
MD Western University
Office:  Dental Sciences Building, Room 0073
p. 519.661.2111 x.83768
f. 519.646.6406


Dr. Appleton is Assistant Professor of Rheumatology and Clinician Scientist in the Department of Medicine, with cross-appointment to the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology and the Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Program at Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University.

He also holds an appointment as Scientist with the Lawson Health Research Institute. Dr. Appleton obtained his BSc (2004) in Genetics with a research focus in developmental biology, PhD (2007) in the area of osteoarthritis, genomics, and molecular biology, and MD (2011) from The University of Western Ontario. Following his PhD training, he became a post-doctoral fellow with Dr. Frank Beier, testing pharmacologic approaches to treat osteoarthritis in pre-clinical animal models. Dr. Appleton completed clinical specialty training in Internal Medicine (2014) and subspecialty training in Rheumatology (2016) at The University of Western Ontario and holds Fellowship certifications from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

In 2016, Dr. Appleton was recruited back to The University of Western Ontario, where his translational biology research program is centered on understanding inflammatory mechanisms in early stages of osteoarthritis and different clinical phenotypes of osteoarthritis in humans. His primary research interest is the role of synovial macrophages in the development and progression of osteoarthritis, and the interplay between the synovium and articular cartilage. A long-term goal is to use identified targets for the development of disease modifying treatment for osteoarthritis, which is an enormous unmet need with implications for both patients and society. Dr. Appleton’s multi-pillar research program also involves clinical trials of therapy in osteoarthritis, and clinical studies using longitudinal patient cohorts and musculoskeletal ultrasound. His program is supported by operating funds from the Ontario Innovation Fund (Academic Medical Organization of Southwestern Ontario) and industry collaborations.


At Western, Dr. Appleton is a member of the transdisciplinary Bone and Joint Institute and a program mentor in the Collaborative Training Program in Musculoskeletal Health Research. Starting in 2017, he is a director of the Ontario Rheumatology Association, and Chair of the Canadian Rheumatology Association Scientific Committee.

Dr. Appleton is the Director of the Multidisciplinary Specialty Centre for Osteoarthritis at St. Joseph's Health Care, London. The Rheumatology Centre at SJHC is host to several multidisciplinary programs including the OA Centre and offers high quality, evidence-based care to patients with all kinds of rheumatic diseases. 

The OA Centre is a unique program offering patients with all kinds of osteoarthritis hope for early intervention and ongoing management. In addition to evidence-based care, OA patients receive access to multiple specialites including Orthopedics, Physiotherapy, and other Allied Health practitioners. The OA Centre is also a clinical trials centre and patients have the opportunity to participate in various ongoing studies of disease-modifying (preventing progression of disease) treatment for osteoarthritis and discovery of new targets for treatment.