The CMDR is a COBRE-funded center whose main goal is to promote and expand musculoskeletal research in the state of Arkansas. Charles O’Brien, Ph.D., serves as the Director of the Center and Maria Almeida, Ph.D., serves as the Associate Director. A key feature of the CMDR is the use of state-of-the-art molecular analyses combined with novel animal models to identify the underlying causes of musculoskeletal diseases, including osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, developmental disorders, and malignancies that affect the skeleton. The CMDR has an Administrative Core, three research cores, and three to four research projects led by junior investigators. The Administrative Core coordinates all Center activities, oversees a mentoring program for the Project Leaders, and expands Center membership by operating a pilot project program.
The three research cores operated by the CMDR are unique in the State of Arkansas. The Genetic Models Core uses cutting-edge technology to rapidly and efficiently create new genetically-modified mouse models. The Bone Histology and Imaging Core provides highly specialized equipment and expertise needed to analyze murine bones, human bone biopsies, and human joints. The Bioinformatics Core analyzes and interprets large data sets that are generated by genome-wide molecular analyses conducted by many of the research projects supported by the Center. Each of these cores provides essential services that support the growth of musculoskeletal research at UAMS, its affiliated institutions, and other research institutions across the state.