18628-Kacena, Melissa

Melissa A. Kacena, PhD

Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

Indianapolis, IN
Pubmed Logo


Dr. Kacena is Vice Chair for Research and a Professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at IU School of Medicine.  She received her Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Colorado in collaboration with Harvard Medical School and NASA Ames Research Center.  She completed her postdoctoral training in Orthopaedics at Yale University School of Medicine, where she was promoted to Assistant Professor before being recruited to IU in 2007.

Titles & Appointments

  • Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Adjunct Professor of Anatomy, Cell Biology & Physiology
  • Adjunct Professor of Biomedical Engineering, School of Engineering and Technology
  • Vice Chair for Research
  • Education
    2000 PhD University of Colorado
    1995 MS University of Colorado
    1994 BS University of Colorado
  • Research

    The overall research goal of Dr. Kacena's laboratory is to improve the understanding of the interaction of the bone and hematopoietic systems, thereby potentially improving the treatment of metabolic bone disease, hematopoietic disorders, and fracture healing. To achieve this goal, her research program focuses in five areas: 1) The role of megakaryocytes, megakaryocyte growth factors and their receptors in bone homeostasis; 2) Osteoblasts and the hematopoietic stem cell niche; 3) Regulators of osteosarcoma tumor growth; 4) Translational/clinical studies examining the genetic regulation of skeletal homeostasis; and 5) The molecular mechanisms underlying bone repair/fracture healing.  Trainees coming through the Kacena lab may learn molecular and cellular bone biology techniques and/or in vivo fracture healing models. Trainees will be trained in many techniques including cell culture, including molecular (e.g., RNA extraction, qPCR, western blotting, serum/media ELISAs), radiographic (e.g., DEXA, pQCT, microCT, planar radiography), histologic (e.g., thin and thick sectioning, staining, IHC, fluorochrome histomorphometry), and biomechanical (e.g., whole bone mechanical properties).

  • Professional Organizations
    Advances in Mineral Metabolism (AIMM)
    American Society for Bone and Mineral Research
    Orthopaedic Research Society
    Orthopaedic Trauma Association

Research Labs

Faculty research at IU School of Medicine is transforming health. Details about the medical research being conducted in faculty labs throughout IU School of Medicine are available in the Research section of this site.

Faculty Labs