Identification of osteoblast lineage cells by fluorescence-activated cell sorting

Research Opportunity
Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Project Status
Medicine and Radiology
St Vincent's Hospital
Supervisor Email Number Webpage
A/Prof Louise Purton Personal web page
Dr Alistair Chalk 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. We will isolate the osteoblast lineage cell types from mice and determine their ability to make different mesenchymal cell lineages (fat, bone, chondrocytes) and their potential to support blood cell production.

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
Graduate Research Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other Graduate Research requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

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Key Contact

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


Medicine and Radiology

Research Node

St Vincent's Hospital

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