Mesenchymal Stem Cell Biology

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent stem cells that can differentiate into a variety of cell types, including bone cells (osteoblasts), cartilage cells (chondrocytes), muscle cells (myocytes) and fat cells that give rise to marrow adipose tissue (adipocytes). Bone marrow has a limited MSC pool that depletes with age and after disease. Intriguingly, the depletion in functional MSCs often correlates with the increase in adiposity. This is one major reason bones fail to regenerate in osteoporotic conditions.

Dr. Chandra focuses on therapeutic options to regulate bone marrow adiposity. His research aims to define the cues that regulate mesenchymal cell fate and assign them to an osteogenic or adipogenic fate. Dr. Chandra utilizes lineage-tracing methods to accurately characterize the mesenchymal fate and identify the pathways that regulate cell fate. He has used age- and radiation-related bone marrow adiposity in vivo and in vitro to determine if senescence plays a role in MSC depletion due to fate conversion to adipocytes. A multidrug screening is identifying compounds that can regulate this process and may serve as potential agents to treat osteoporosis.