Biomedical Engineering

Recent and Current Research

Aging Bone: Age Effects on Osteocyte Sensing of Skeletal Loading

Principal Investigator(s): Amber Stern, Ph.D.
Funded by: University of Missouri Research Board, $50,000
Goal: To generate preliminary data while characterizing the response of young and old primary osteocytes to mechanical loading to determine if the mechanotransduction of osteocytes is altered with age.

Osteocyte Regulation of Bone/Muscle with Age

Principal Investigator(s): Lynda Bonewald, Ph.D.
Co-Principal Investigator(s): Amber Rath Stern, Ph.D., Ganesh Thiagarajan, Ph.D., P.E., Mark Johnson, Ph.D., Sarah Dallas, Ph.D., Marco Brotto, Ph.D., Matthew Stern, Ph.D.
Funded by: National Institute on Aging, $5,597,982
Goal: To determine the molecular mechanisms by which bone communicates with muscle and muscle with bone and how aging affects this crosstalk. This program project focuses on muscle-bone crosstalk exclusive of muscle contractile force on bone and how aging alters this crosstalk mechanism. This reciprocal alteration in crosstalk leads to concomitant changes in muscle and bone function that can eventually result in sarcopenia and osteoporosis, respectively. Unique tools and approaches will be used to accomplish the specific aims including 1). Muscle and bone transgenic mouse models, 2) Systematic and detailed phenotypic characterization; 3). Unique bone and muscle cell lines, 4). Dynamic imaging capabilities; 5) Molecular-genetic manipulations. Specific Aims are to 1). Determine the effects of osteocytes on muscle mass and function and how this changes with aging 2). Determine the effects of muscle on osteoblast/osteocyte function and how this changes with aging 3). Examine how osteocytes control osteoblast cell dynamics and extracellular matrix assembly and how this is regulated by muscle cells as a function of aging 4). Determine the effects of mechanical loading on osteocyte regulation of muscle mass and function and if aging independently alters both or one versus the other.