David Sonnabend is Professor of Orthopaedic and Traumatic Surgery at the University of Sydney, from where he graduated with Honours degrees in Biochemistry (1968) and Medicine (1972). His clinical interests relate to shoulder surgery and arthritis, and he has published 14 book chapters, 60 refereed articles and 26 abstracts. He has given 43 international and 70 national invited presentations and over 110 presentations at other meetings in this field. His doctoral thesis was on the pathology, repair and comparative anatomy of the rotator cuff.
He was a founding member of the Australian and New Zealand Orthopaedic Research Society, and the inaugural president of the Shoulder and Elbow Society of Australia, of which he is an honorary life member. He was, for nine years, "Editor in Australasia" of the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery. In 1998 he was chairman of the 7th International Congress on Surgery of the Shoulder. He is a corresponding member of the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons, and an external reviewer for the Cochrane Collaboration (musculoskeletal injuries group) and various journals (including the Journal of Orthopaedic Science and the American Journal of Sports Medicine). He is a member of the International Board of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery and of the Court of Examiners of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. He has been a visiting Professor at various overseas universities, including George Washington University (Washington, DC), the Hebrew University (Jerusalem) and the University of Calgary (Alberta, Canada). He has been an invited guest lecturer at numerous overseas meetings, including the Japanese, New Zealand, Indonesian and South African Orthopaedic Associations and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. In 2004 he was the keynote lecturer at the 9th International Conference on Surgery of the Shoulder, in Washington, DC. In 2007 he was given the Australian Orthopaedic Association award for contributions to Orthopaedic Research.
He conducts a post specialization Fellowship programme in Shoulder and Elbow Surgery at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney where he also convenes an annual national Shoulder Symposium. Over 50 Australian and overseas orthopaedic surgeons have completed post-specialization Fellowships in Shoulder Surgery under his supervision since 1989. He is involved in ongoing research into osteoarthritis and tendon healing in the Raymond Purves Research Laboratories (Royal North Shore Hospital), as well as various other clinical research projects. He has, in collaboration with colleagues, been the recipient of many NHMRC and other research grants. He has been Director of the Bone and Joint Research Foundation since 2003.