Susan Miranda, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), has received a grant totaling $1.6 million from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, a subsidiary of the National Institutes of Health. Her research aims to understand the mechanism of action of estrogens in bone cells, especially focusing on the genes regulated by estrogens in osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Understanding the molecular biology of estrogens in bone is critical to preventing and/or treating osteoporosis.
The award will be used to support a project titled, “Determining the Mechanism of How GATA4 Directs ERalpha Binding in Osteoblasts.” The award will be distributed over a five-year period.
Osteoporosis is a significant public health concern that affects more than 10 million people in the United States. An additional 33.6 million individuals in this country have low bone mass and are at risk for developing osteoporosis. While women are more likely than men to suffer from osteoporosis, seven percent of men in the United States over age 50 also have the disease. With the aging population, these numbers are likely to increase in the next few decades.
Estrogens are important in the development of bone and maintenance of bone mineral density in both men and women. It has been known for a long time that estrogens are necessary for strong bones, but little is known about their mechanism of action in bone cells. In particular, we lack the knowledge of which genes are regulated in each bone cell type.
“I am so energized to be here in Memphis with the support of the university and this new grant,” said Dr. Miranda. “It has been a long process, but now we can press forward with reaching innovative breakthroughs in osteoporosis research.”
The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.