The ultimate goal of our research is to lower the number of bone fractures associated with osteoporosis, diabetes, cancer, and aging.
Towards that end, we investigate ways to improve the clinical assessment of fracture risk and identify regulators of bone toughness (lack of brittleness). Specifically, we hypothesize that the functional state of water in bone explains the disproportionate increase in fracture risk that occurs with aging and certain diseases. Ongoing projects include i) determining whether matrix-bound water and pore water, as measured by 1H Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (akin to MRI), can explain age- and diabetes-related decreases in bone’s resistance to fracture and ii) identifying the determinants of matrix-bound water.
In addition, we are developing polarization Raman Spectroscopy techniques to assess tissue heterogeneity as a potential biomarker of bone fragility.
In collaboration with material scientists at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, we are assessing the relative contribution of nanoindentation and microindentation properties to bone’s ability to resist crack propagation with emphasis on viscoelastic energy dissipation and elastic energy release, respectively.
Lastly, using normal and genetically modified mice with and without drug treatments, we also study how advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), matrix proteins, transcription factors, and growth factors affect bone toughness and fracture resistance in general. Specifically, on-going projects include i) the effect of inhibiting transforming growth factor beta on the tissue-level properties of bone (beyond bone size), ii) the effect of AGE inhibitors on ameliorating the deleterious changes to bone caused by aging or diabetes, and iii) the role of activating transcription factor 4 in bone toughness.
1161 21st Avenue South
Medical Center Drive
B-0213 Medical Center North (MCN)
Nashville, TN 37232
MeSH terms are retrieved from PubMed records. Learn more.
Key: MeSH Term KeywordAged biomechanics Body Weight Bone Bone Cements Bone Matrix Bound water Cercopithecus aethiops Collagen Type I Diphosphates Extracellular Matrix Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases Fractures, Bone Matrix Metalloproteinase 2 micro-CT NF-KappaB Inhibitor alpha nuclear magnetic resonance orthopaedics Osteocytes Osteogenesis Raman spectroscopy Spectrum Analysis, Raman Streptozocin Sympathetic Nervous System Tensile Strength TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases Up-Regulation