Title: The role of YAP and TAZ transcriptional coactivators in osteoblast lineage cells
The central hypothesis of this project is that YAP and TAZ maintain the stemness of osteoblast progenitors and mediate the response to mechanical loading in osteocytes. To address this hypothesis, three aims are proposed: 1) Identify the mechanisms by which YAP and TAZ suppress osteoblast differentiation, 2) Determine whether osteocyte expression of YAP and TAZ mediates the response of bone to increased mechanical load, and 3) Identify the pathways by which YAP and TAZ in osteocytes promote bone formation.
Dr. Xiong joined the UAMS Department of Orthopaedic Surgery as an Assistant Professor in 2016. He joined Dr. O’Brien’s laboratory as a graduate student in 2008. His dissertation work focused on identifying the molecular interactions between different cell types that promote bone resorption. His work led to the seminal finding that the cells buried within the bone matrix, known as osteocytes, control osteoclast formation. Because he is such a promising junior investigator and because of the relevance of his biomechanical work to orthopedic research, he was offered a faculty position in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at UAMS. He was recognized for his work with a Young Investigator Award from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research in 2009.
Dr. Xiong’s Mentors
Maria Almeida, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Departments of Internal Medicine and Orthopedic Surgery. Dr. Schuller Almeida is also Associate Director of CMDR. Dr. Almeida has a background in marine biology. Her current research focus is on the effects of anti-oxidant defense mechanisms on bone health and disease.
Alan Tackett, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Director of the CTPR. His research interests include istone epigenetic mechanisms that regulate gene transcription and that are coupled to melanoma progression and developing new technologies for epigenetic studies such as tools for detection of in vivo protein interactions and quantitative assays for histone-modifying proteins.
Matthew Silva, Ph.D., is the Julia and Walter R. Peterson Orthopaedic Research Professor, Department of Orthopaedics Washington University. His research interests include studies to see if mechanical loading stimulates bone formation, and how bones heal after injury