The Mechanobiology section is focused on understanding how mechanical forces regulate specific cell-signaling mechanisms, and how these mechanisms are used by individual cell-types to modify the material properties and mechanical behavior of bone. Ongoing research is currently investigating how exercise, as a form of mechanical loading, can be used to improve bone adaptation as a treatment and prevention strategy for musculoskeletal diseases such as osteoporosis.
The Musculoskeletal Genetics section focuses on genetic diseases of cartilage, bone, and muscle. We have active projects that stem from our mutation screening efforts including the role of SHIP2 in skeletal mineralization in opsismodydplasia, the contribution of MTM1 to muscle formation in myotubular myopathy and the role of the collagen VI genes in congenital muscular dystrophy. Other areas of interest include studies into the response of cartilage to microgravity, and cartilage regeneration.
We are actively using RNA-based CRISPR approaches to develop therapies for musculoskeletal genetic disease and have produced several novel tools for these studies including a Universal CRISPR vector system. Please contact us if you are interested to using these reagents for your research.
The Biomechanics section is focused on improving the diagnosis of bone fracture risk associated with osteoporosis and improving techniques for preventing and treating fractures. High-resolution imaging, computer simulation, mechanical testing, and microscopy techniques are used to estimate how mechanical stress is distributed in bone, quantify the chemical and structural make-up of tissue, and estimate bone strength and fracture risk. New techniques are developed using imaging modalities such as tomosynthesis, in order to quantify bone qualities that predict fracture risk.
The Herrick-Davis Motion Analysis Laboratory studies the dynamic function of human joints and the extent to which mechanical factors are associated with degenerative joint and soft-tissue diseases. On-going studies are aimed at understanding how the treatment of rotator cuff tears affects long-term shoulder function, the extent to which pre-operative imaging can predict post-operative shoulder function, and the impact of fusion and artificial disc replacement on spine motion.