The role and molecular regulation of cellular metabolism during musculoskeletal development and disease.
My lab is focused on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms that influence cell fate determination using bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells as a model system. These cells have the capacity to differentiate into multiple cell lineages including fat (adipocytes), cartilage (chondrocytes) and bone (osteoblasts). We are primarily interested in the role of amino acid metabolism and its regulation during differentiation. We use a multifaceted approach combining cell biology, bioinformatics, CRISPR/Cas9 technology and mouse genetics to understand the necessity and sufficiency of various metabolic pathways to determine cell fate and how individual amino acids are utilized during differentiation. Finally, we are interested in evaluating the effects of aging on cellular metabolism as well as determining the role of amino acid metabolism in human diseases including osteoporosis and osteoarthritis and during skeletal repair and regeneration.