Personal profile

Research interests

The long-term goal of our research efforts is to understand the cellular and molecular basis of the bone remodeling process, and to devise mechanisms by which this balance can be modified. Our current research is focused on how bone cells function in a social context, via intercellular communication through gap junctions and direct cell-to-cell contact. Using mouse genetics and in vitro approaches, we find that recessive null or dominant negative mutations of some connexin and cadherin genes lead to skeletal developmental abnormalities, reduced bone mass and abnormalities of bone cell differentiation and function. We are using these models to test how interference with cell-cell adhesion and communication modulates bone anabolic responses to bio-pharmacologic and physical/mechanical stimuli. The ultimate goal is to identify potential new targets for maximizing bone mass acquisition and expand therapeutic potentials for demineralizing conditions, such as osteoporosis.

More information on research activity can be found in the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences web site, under Faculty (http://dbbs.wustl.edu/dbbs/website.nsf/).

Clinical interests

Diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis, osteopenia, measurement of bone density, bone metabolism, bone disease, mineral disease, Paget's disease of bone, disorders of phosphate metabolism, hypercalcemia, hypocalcemia

Mentoring

Our laboratory is fully committed to mentoring and training a diverse and inclusive workforce. For over 3 decades, our lab has welcomed and supported trainees from all the 5 continents, from widely diverse backgrounds, cultures, languages and personal experiences.  Such diversity has contributed to create a culture of inclusiveness, mutual respect, positive curiosity and sharing of each other’s lifetime journeys. Such diversity is a defining feature of our environment as a small lab community within the larger Musculoskeletal Research Center at Washington University. As the founder and director of an institutional training program, I am fully committed to the mentoring of the next generation of scientists and physicians in the musculoskeletal field, and this extends to all laboratory members, students, post-docs, technicians, staff scientist and junior faculty. 

Available to Mentor:

  • PhD/MSTP Students

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