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Musculoskeletal Integrity Program

Program Mission:

The Musculoskeletal Integrity Program's mission is to determine the biological, biochemical, and biomechanical mechanisms involved in musculoskeletal tissue development, degeneration, and repair, and to use that information to develop therapies to prevent or correct conditions in which these processes are impaired. As part of this mission, we mentor faculty and students in the scientific principles necessary to advance their careers in basic and applied orthopedic science.

Program Goals:

The goals of the musculoskeletal integrity program are to address questions of bone biology, skeletal fragility, tissue mineralization, and skeletal adaptation to various stimuli and the osseointegration of orthopedic and dental implant materials. We will apply physical chemical, biochemical, analytical chemical and histological based techniques to specifically determine:

  1. How current therapeutics alter the composition and structure of bones at risk of fracture, specifically humans and animal models of osteoporosis and osteogenesis imperfecta.
  2. How “drug holidays” affect bone composition and structure in bisphosphonate treated subjects.
  3. How bone tissue heterogeneity affects bone mechanical strength.
  4. How bone adapts to alterations in load and therapeutic regimens.
  5. How diabetes influences bone quality.
  6. How bone markers and RANKL predict bone osteolysis.
  7. How mesenchymal stem cells enhance bone repair and repair nonunion
  8. How extracellular matrix proteins and biomimetic peptides regulate cell-directed and noncellular processes of tissue mineralization.
  9. How exogenously applied matrix protein coatings or osteogenic hormones influence the structural and functional connection between implantable materials and bone (osseointegration).
  10. How the surface properties, design and biomechanical loading of implantable materials modulate osseointegration.
  11. What factors contribute to dystrophic mineralization and how they can be modified.
  12. How current therapies for osteoporosis affect fracture healing.
  13. How tissue engineered bone constructs function in vivo.