Skeletal Physiology Laboratory

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This laboratory conducts integrated research into the physiology of various stimuli that affect bone metabolism, especially the bone protein osteocalcin, recently identified as a hormone influencing extraskeletal metabolism. Among the conditions we study are acute and chronic alcohol consumption, skeletal unloading, and sensory neural influence.

Research Aim(s): 
  • Function of osteocalcin in acute and chronic alcohol consumption, including systemic inflammation, the physiological and mechanical properties of bone, and the behavior and stress response of osteocalcin null mutant (knockout) mice
  • Comparison of bone loss of wild type and osteocalcin null mutant (knockout) mice to spinal cord injury (trauma) or hind limb unloading (non-traumatic disuse).
  • Effect of osteocalcin deletion on motor recovery and inflammatory response following spinal cord injury
  • Effects of sensory stimuli on gene expression for osteocalcin and sensory receptors in dorsal root and trigeminal ganglia and spinal cord
  • Culture of dorsal root ganglia cells to determine what chemical stimuli alter osteocalcin gene expression and protein synthesis
Active Research Projects: 
  • Effect of binge or chronic high alcohol consumption on bone mineral density in male and female wild-type and osteocalcin null mutant mice compared with abstainers.
  • Effects in wild-type and knockout mice of skeletal disuse induced by paralysis of spinal cord injury or by hind limb unloading, with and without replacement of the osteocalcin in the knockout.
  • Production and purification of native osteocalcin protein from mouse osteoblastic cell culture
  • In situ hybridization of osteocalcin mRNA and immunolocalization of osteocalcin and other proteins in tissues of wild-type and osteocalcin null mutant mice.
  • Effects of acute or chronic stress on expression of various stress and sensory stimulus-related genes in sensory ganglia and adrenals from wild-type and osteocalcin null mutant mice.
Training Offered: 

We provide training for undergraduates in basic research techniques including animal behavior, hormone analysis, gene expression, and protein purification and localization.

Core Faculty: Patricia Buckendahl, PhD
Affiliated Faculty: Lei Yu, PhD
Arthur Tomie, PhD
Undergraduate Students: Daphney Noel
Saad Ahmad
Efua Boluvi
Jaydip Shah
Matthew Flanagan
Aedan Hanna
Ariana Kalkandis
Sanjita Ekhelikar
Malvika Gupta
Nelly Sekyere
Daniel Bargielski
Hesbon Isaboke
Gloria Chang