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News : Health Mar 27, 2013 - 2:53:45 PM

NIH awards $1,640,000 grant to St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center

By Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center

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Ernesto Canalis, M.D
Hartford, CT - Ernesto Canalis, M.D., Director of Research at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, is the Principal Investigator on a $1,640,000 grant award from the National Institute of Arthritis Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases to investigate the Role of Notch Signaling in Osteocytes over the next five years.

The purpose of the grant is to study a new signal termed Notch and how it affects the function of specialized cells embedded in the bone matrix, termed osteocytes. Notch determines the fate of bone cells and has been implicated in diseases affecting both the developing and the adult skeleton.

“Osteocytes communicate messages to other cells within the skeleton and play a fundamental role in the maintenance of bone integrity,” notes Dr. Canalis.

A primary goal of the study is to determine the functional role played by Notch in skeletal cells and its possible role in certain forms of osteoporosis and disorders characterized by bone loss.

For nearly three decades, Dr. Canalis has been working to unravel the effects of bone growth factors. He was the first investigator to demonstrate that growth factors play a critical role in bone cell function.

In recognition of his contributions to medical sciences, Dr. Canalis has been the recipient of the Ann Doner Vaughan Kappa Delta Award for Excellence in Orthopedic Research from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, the Gerald Aurbach Award for Outstanding Research in Endocrinology from the Endocrine Society, the Marshall Urist Award for Excellence in Tissue Regeneration Research from the Orthopedic Research Society, the Louis V. Avioli Founders Award for fundamental contributions to bone and mineral basic research from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR), and the Lawrence G. Raisz Award for Outstanding Achievements in Preclinical Translational Research from the ASBMR. Dr. Canalis has also served as President of the ASBMR.

Dr. Canalis’ work has been supported by the National Institutes of Health for over 30 years. His research is highly relevant to metabolic bone disease and osteoporosis, a major health issue facing men and women as America’s baby boomers age.

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