Pathology begins in the cells: Studying lipotoxic stress generated from adipocytes in bone and muscle cell cultures

Research Opportunity
PhD students, Masters by Research
Department / Centre
Western Health
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
A/prof Damian Myers Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Prof John Hamilton Personal web page

Summary Osteopenia, osteoporosis and sarcopenia affect the lives of more than 2 million people in Australia and numbers are increasing exponentially due to increased life expectancy. Ageing is the strongest predictor of sarcopenia which is directly correlated with increased falls and bone fractures. The link between muscle health and the quality and strength of bone is underpinned by cell-cell interactions that regulate both cortical and trabecular bone turnover.

Project Details

The association between ageing and sarcopenia/osteopenia can be studied through temporal studies of appropriate animal models by recovery of bones for live-cell imaging of the cortical and trabecular bone. Also, gene modified animals with altered musculoskeletal outcomes can be used to study the onset of muscle and bone changes and for the study of factors that regulate progression of muscle-wasting and bone loss and interactions between muscle and bone. We need to understand how these processes in muscle and bone are linked so we can design and test appropriate interventions. This study focuses on mechanisms of disease that occur with ageing including osteoporosis, sarcopenia and osteopenia. Such pre-clinical models can be used for developing appropriate therapeutic interventions.  

Hypothesis: There is a link between muscle loss and bone health and the metabolic dysregulation of lipids. Lipid accumulation in bone/muscle may lead to muscle wasting and bone loss. In this study, combined functional and structural imaging will be used in temporal studies to investigate onset and progression of lipotoxicity in muscle and bone.

Aim: To investigate cell-tissue interactions in pre-clinical models of bone and muscle disease. Biochemical and gene expression studies will be used in parallel with live-cell imaging to investigate cellular interactions in each of muscle and bone.

School Research Themes

Ageing, Musculoskeletal

Research Opportunities

PhD students, Masters by Research
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.

Department / Centre


Research Node

Western Health

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