The research interests of Haitao Wang, Ph.D., are the etiology and treatment of bone-related diseases such as osteoporosis and ectopic bone formation. Dr. Wang's research goals include:
- Understanding the mechanisms underlying the development of bone tissue where it does not typically exist (heterotopic ossification)
- Studying the function of telomere alterations on age-related bone disease
- Identifying molecular targets for drug screening in conditions of osteoporosis and ectopic bone formation
Dr. Wang's research works within the fields of bone marrow stem cell biology, the microenvironmental niche and telomere function.
The effect of the microenvironmental niche on bone marrow stem cell function in disorders of heterotopic ossification. Dr. Wang has systematically studied the role of microenvironmental factors, such as low oxygen, innate immunity and temperature, on primary stem cells. He completed this research using stem cells from human patients with — and murine models of — fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva.
Dr. Wang currently focuses on mechanisms of microenvironmental influences on heterotopic ossification. This research is conducted by using fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva mutant mice models and screening inhibitory molecules targeting heterotopic ossification.
Exercise and muscle atrophy. Muscle atrophy is characterized by loss of lean muscle mass and increased weakness. Physical exercise is the primary intervention to improve muscle strength and endurance in healthy individuals. However, some people are exercise resistant with unclear underlying mechanisms.
Dr. Wang and colleagues are investigating the function of primary cilia in skeletal muscle stem cells for exercise-induced muscle hypertrophy. This research could lead to targeted treatment or future interventions to ameliorate muscle atrophy or mimic exercise-induced beneficial effects in people who are unable to exercise or respond poorly to exercise.
- The effect of telomere dysfunction on age-related bone disease. Dr. Wang investigates the effect of pathological changes in telomeres on the proliferation and differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells. This research will promote the understanding of telomere biology in the setting of bone regeneration.
Significance to patient care
The work performed by Dr. Wang has tremendous clinical implications for common conditions, such as heterotopic bone formation, and rare bone diseases, such as fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva. His research also has clinical implications for age-related osteoporosis, muscle atrophy and bone marrow transplantation.