Research in the laboratory of David G. Monroe, Ph.D., focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms of how nuclear receptors regulate bone mass. Dr. Monroe's team is particularly interested in the function of estrogen receptors and an orphan nuclear receptor, Rorβ, in regulating the activity of osteoblasts and osteoprogenitor cells within the bone marrow microenvironment in osteoporosis and in aging. Team members use transgenic and mouse models, in vitro models of osteogenesis, and molecular biology in their research.
- The role of estrogen receptors (both ERα and ERβ) in regulating bone mass and identifying the cells within bone, such as osteoblasts, osteoclasts and osteocytes, that are responsible for mediating this effect
- Understanding how Rorβ regulates bone mass acquisition
- Identifying which cell types — for example, osteoprogenitors — within the bone marrow microenvironment mediate the effects of Rorβ during aging
- Understanding the molecular mechanism of how Rorβ inhibits osteogenesis
Significance to patient care
Understanding the molecular mechanisms that regulate bone mass is an important step in identifying the etiologies underlying bone diseases such as osteoporosis. Since these nuclear receptors have clear effects on bone metabolism, identifying new ways to modulate the activity of these molecules will lead to novel therapies to treat pathological bone loss and bone loss during normal human aging.