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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Apr 11, 2006    #078
Contact: Noemi Rojas
(816) 235-1520

UMKC receives $6.59 million from NIH for bone study

Lynda Bonewald, Ph.D., Curators’ Professor and Lee M. and William Lefkowitz Professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), is the lead investigator on a five-year grant for $6.59 million to study bone cells known as osteocytes. The money comes from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases of the National Institutes of Health, and will be allocated in $1.3 million increments each year.

The hypothesis is that osteocytes sense and respond to mechanical strain by sending signals that result in bone loss, remodeling, modeling, or pathologic repair. Little is known about the function of osteocytes, which make up more than 90 percent of all bone cells. Knowledge gained from this research will be applicable to the prevention and treatment of bone loss due to immobilization, space flight, microdamage (which increases the risk of complete fracture), and diseases like osteoporosis.

This project it will be done in collaboration with the Kansas University Medical Center (KUMC), the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, said John R. Baumann, Vice Provost for Research at UMKC.

“Dr. Bonewald’s project is important because it addresses a significant health issue and has tremendous implications for the improvement of health care related to bone injury and diseases,” Baumann said. “In addition, this grant will foster even more basic and translational collaborative research among these scientists.”

Bonewald is director of the UMKC School of Dentistry Bone Biology Program. A professor in the Department of Oral Biology with a joint appointment in the Department of Biological Sciences, she is a member of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, American Society for Matrix Biology, and the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities.

UMKC is one of four University of Missouri campuses. It is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a three-part mission: visual and performing arts, health and life sciences and urban affairs.

This information is available to people with speech or hearing impairments by calling Relay Missouri at (800) 735-2966 (TT) or (800) 735-2466 (voice).

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