Identification of osteoblast lineage cells by fluorescence-activated cell sorting

Research Opportunity
Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Number of Honour Places Available
Medicine and Radiology
St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Alistair Chalk Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
A/Prof Louise Purton Personal web page

Project Details

Osteoblasts are bone-forming cells. There is a well-recognised hierarchy of osteoblast-lineage cells in the bone marrow, with the most immature cell being the mesenchymal stem cell and the most mature cell being the osteocyte. Studies of osteoblast lineage cells have been hampered by the lack of methods by which to purify cells at different stages of osteoblast differentiation. Improving on these approaches will be valuable for bone studies as well as understanding how osteoblast lineage cells impact on blood cell production.

Fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS) has been used widely in the field of blood cell research and has markedly enhanced our understanding of the blood cell system. More recently, attempts have been made to isolate out different osteoblast lineage cells using FACS. We have used such an approach to identify 6 different osteoblast lineage cell populations.

The aims of this Honours project are to further improve on our existing FACS methods to isolate and characterise different osteoblast lineage cells using new markers identified using microarrays of the six different populations. These methods will also be applied to mouse models we have in which both bone and blood cell production is altered by changes in osteoblast-lineage cells. We will isolate the osteoblast lineage cell types from these mice and identify changes in regulators of bone and blood cell production in these cells.

These studies will involve bioinformatics, fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS) and a range of different techniques used in bone and blood cell biology, including in vitro cultures, immunohistochemistry, molecular biology (quantitative real-time PCR).

This project is conducted in St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research, Stem Cell Regulation Unit.

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Cancer in Medicine

Research Opportunities

Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.


Medicine and Radiology

Research Node

St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research

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