Mineralized Tissue Research
Dr. Boskey studies the mechanism of biomineralization via analyses of the structure of mineral and matrix in health and disease, the role of matrix constituents in mineralization, and the development of novel methods to assess mineral and matrix properties. Human conditions of particular interest are: dystrophic calcifications, growth plate abnormalities, osteoporosis; osteoarthritis; and osteogenesis imperfecta. Matrix constituents studied include: phospholipids; collagen; noncollagenous proteins, and proteoglycans. Techniques for analysis include: the gel diffusion system for the study of in vitro mineralization, differentiating mesenchymal cell micro-mass cultures, FT-IR microspectroscopy and imaging for the study of mineral and matrix properties, and wide angle x-ray diffraction. The ultimate goal of the studies is to improve bone quality by providing insight needed for new therapies and tissue engineered products.
Mineral and Matrix Changes in Osteoporosis
Dr. Boskey uses Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) Microspectroscopy and Imaging to determine the changes in bone mineral and matrix content and composition that occur during normal aging and in osteoporosis. Effects of current anti-resorptive and anabolic treatments are also characterized in bone biopsies and in pre-clinical models. The underlying hypotheses of these studies is that in addition to bone mineral density and geometry, mineral and matrix properties contribute to fracture risk, and these properties can be modulated by appropriate therapies.