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Research to better understand musculoskeletal health is critical, as diseases and disorders in this area of medicine are becoming more common as the U.S. population ages, and the musculoskeletal system is essential for good health at every stage of life. Specifically, the musculoskeletal conditions of sarcopenia, osteoporosis and arthritis continue to increase as do the demand for hip and knee replacements. The overall economic burden of musculoskeletal conditions is greater than that of cancer, stroke and cardiac arrest combined.
Focused Research Support
Research service cores are available to support Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health investigators and collaborative medical research partners working in this area of medicine. Research support for animal imaging and analysis, musculoskeletal histology, musculoskeletal biobanking, and clinical care and mobility is currently available.
The Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health has several service cores that provide centralized shared research resources offering access to instruments, technologies and services as well as expert consultation and other services to scientific and clinical investigators. At this time, the Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health has a clinical core, the Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health Clinical Research Core, and several basic/translation cores that include a histology, animal phenotyping, mechanobiology, and imaging core. Each of these cores offer specific services to promote collaborative interdisciplinary research on the IU School of Medicine—Indianapolis campus.
Thematic Research Teams
Focused research teams are composed of basic, translational and clinical researchers, including medical and graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and orthopaedic fellows. These cross-departmental research teams also include experts in genetics and precision medicine, trauma, rehab, regeneration, mechanobiology and bone/muscle crosstalk, musculoskeletal cancer, and pediatric musculoskeletal disease.
The Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health is currently establishing its research and education priorities and developing teams and committees to delegate the responsibilities of the Center, which include organizing annual scientific retreats and quarterly technical training forums, supporting pilot research projects, establishing MS and PhD education programs–all while maintaining a high level of knowledge and visibility regarding musculoskeletal research.
Six dedicated research teams are actively pursuing specific research focuses, and new teams and subgroups are welcome. Individuals interested in joining or supporting one of the research teams can contact the center.
The rising burdens of musculoskeletal diseases include various types of cancer in bone. The Cancer in Bone and Muscle research team focuses on the interactions between bone and cancer, especially breast and prostate cancer as well as multiple myeloma. Additionally, these investigators are interested in understanding the interaction of bone cancers to muscle cachexia and vice-versa.
The lifestyle modification team’s research focuses on the lifestyle, nutrition and behavioral modifications that impact musculoskeletal health and physical function, specifically in regards to nutrition and mobility. The goals of this research is to better understand how musculoskeletal health and physical function affect the overall health of the population and how chronic diseases impact musculoskeletal health.
Focusing on osteoarthritis, effects of exercise on the musculoskeletal system and the new research area of non-mechanical, systematic interactions between muscle and bone, the Mechanobiology and Muscle/Bone Crosstalk research team includes more than 30 musculoskeletal health investigators. To make the most of the collaboration opportunities in a research team this size, leaders David Burr, PhD, and Teresa Zimmers, PhD, have organized the team into sub-groups that target specific research goals for experimenting, development and funding.
The pediatric musculoskeletal disease team is investigating the causes of childhood musculoskeletal diseases, including those that affect bone and muscle such as diabetes, obesity and the sarcomas with special interest on osteosarcoma. The goal is better understand the causes of pediatric musculoskeletal disease and how they relate to other childhood illnesses.
The precision medicine team is focused on genetic musculoskeletal diseases, including X-linked hypophosphatemia, autosomal dominant hypophosphatemia, and genomic, metabolomics, protemic determinants of bone density, osteoporosis and sarcopenia in aging and chronic disease. These investigators are focusing on the causes of these diseases and working to develop treatments and cures.
Focusing on developing patient-specific interventions, the Trauma, Regeneration and Rehabilitation team investigators are working to treat patients sustaining musculoskeletal injury, specifically injuries that result in acute and chronic musculoskeletal disease. These treatment goals include acute interventions, regenerative interventions for both bone and muscle, and eventually identifying the optimal means of rehabilitation for the patient to resume a normal lifestyle.