Current Research Projects

Mechanical Behavior of bone in a simulated diabetic state (funded by UMassD MSF award)

Both the quantity and quality of bone affect its overall strength. Because bone quantity is normal in diabetic patients, we think that there are problems with bone quality in type 2 diabetes. Poor bone quality could be due to the buildup of chemical crosslinks called advanced glycation end-products (AGEs). AGEs form when there is plenty of sugar available in the body, and so it's possible that diabetics have lots of AGEs building up in their bones. In this project we are simulating diabetes by incubating human bone specimens in a sugar solution, and this gives us the ability to study its effects in a controlled manner.

 

Biomolecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Diabetic Skeletal Fragility (funded by NIH K01 award)

This project investigates if AGEs and other components of bone quality are different in bone from diabetic patients compared to people who don't have diabetes. To accomplish this, we are collecting bone samples from diabetics and non-diabetics who are having hip replacement surgeries. Using these specimens, we can measure key factors of bone quality. We will also measure gene expression of certain proteins to understand if high sugar levels and diabetes affect bone cell behavior. Because bone cells are in charge of how bone grows and repairs itself, dysfunctional bone cells could lead to having poor bone quality.

 

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

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