The research of Joshua N. Farr, Ph.D., focuses on the determinants of bone strength and fracture risk in children and the pathophysiology of bone loss with aging. This work involves clinical and translational multidisciplinary studies in humans.
Dr. Farr is particularly interested in clinically applicable, innovative approaches to identifying the key biomechanical and functional parameters that determine bone strength and fracture risk. These data are needed to support an individualized approach to fracture prevention.
In addition, Dr. Farr is studying how to better define, in humans, the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the effects of aging on bone cell function.
- Determining the basis for childhood forearm fractures in a population-based case-control study using high-resolution skeletal imaging to test whether deficits in bone strength or reductions in bone microarchitecture differ in subjects sustaining fractures compared to control subjects
- Characterizing optimal skeletal development by defining the role of lifestyle (diet, physical activity, body composition) and biochemical or hormonal factors (sex steroids, parathyroid hormone, vitamin D) in modulating skeletal parameters that discriminate fracture cases from controls and determine peak bone strength
- Applying novel methodologies to better understand relationships between the skeleton and other body systems, such as neuroendocrine control of the skeleton, and how pathological conditions, including type 2 diabetes, effect the morphology and function of skeletal tissue
- Obtaining small needle biopsies of bone and rapidly isolating (without in vitro culture) sequential fractions of enriched human osteoblast populations, with the goal to interrogate specific pathways hypothesized to be altered by aging
Significance to patient care
Fractures are a significant and growing public health problem. Dr. Farr's research aims to identify patients at high fracture risk so that they can be targeted for interventions and treatments.
In addition, because of the major gaps in understanding the aging skeleton in humans, the pathways altered by aging in human bone cells need to be better specified. Delineation of these pathways is critical to understanding the mechanisms underlying age-related bone loss and developing novel therapeutic approaches for reversing or prevention.
- Young Investigator Award, American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, 2012