Tony S. Keller, Ph.D.

1955 – 2006

The International Spine Research (INSPIRE) Foundation™ dedicates its mission in the honor and memory of Dr. Tony Keller. Tony was a driving force behind the INSPIRE team collaboration who died unexpectedly at the age of 51 in Tampa, Florida on December 6, 2006.

For 20 years, Tony was a very active and productive member of the International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine (ISSLS), presenting papers at the society’s annual meetings nearly every year since 1985. He was honored in 1990, winning the ISSLS VOLVO Award for Experimental Studies, (with S. Holm and D.M. Spengler). In 1997 he was awarded the ISSLS MacNab-Larocca Research Fellowship, and in 2002 he received the ISSLS Sofamor Danek Oral Poster Presentation Award, (with D.E. Harrison, C.J. Colloca, D.D. Harrison, T.J. Janik). For ISSLS he served as a Program Committee Member in 1998 and1999, Membership Committee Member (2003-2005), and was the Website Development Chair (2003-2005).

Tony was Born on August 13, 1955 in Salzburg, Austria, and grew up in Lake Oswego, Oregon. He received his B.S. Degree from Oregon State University in 1978 with a double major in Chemistry and Electrical Engineering. He went on to receive his Master’s Degree in Bioengineering at the University of Washington in 1983, and his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Vanderbilt University in 1988. At Vanderbilt, he stayed on an Assistant Professor and Research Assistant in the Orthopaedics and Mechanical Engineering Departments until 1991.

In 1991, he relocated to Burlington, VT where he taught at the University of Vermont (UVM) in the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation. He succeeded to become a Professor and Department Chair in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and taking a very active role in the University's academic programs. Throughout his academic career, he mentored a number of graduate and post-doctoral students who under his guidance won awards and went on to excel in their field. In January of 2006, Tony accepted a position as the Director of Research at the Florida Orthopaedic Institute subsequently relocating to Tampa.

Tony’s accomplishments are illustrated by his many research collaborations throughout his distinguished career. He authored over 80 scientific publications and more than 100 scientific conference proceedings, in addition to several textbook chapters and other writings. He held editorial positions and was a reviewer for a number of scientific journals as well.

To all who knew him, Tony’s vast knowledge in the field of biomechanics and research, strong work ethic, organizational skills, genuine nature, and free spirit, shined. Tony’s children and his life’s work will serve as his legacy, and he will always be remembered as a hard working fun loving friend.


Inspire Cape Town - Symposium - Cape Town, South Africa
18 April 2015