Careers & Students

How does the periosteum control bone width?

PhD/Masters/Honours project

Skeletal health is determined by the strength of our bones and how well they can resist breaking. Current treatments for osteoporosis (fragile bones) preserve bone strength by increasing bone formation and inhibiting bone destruction. While these therapies are good for the spine, they are not effective at other bone sites (i.e. femur, hip, wrist). Strikingly, the femur, hip, and wrist are strong because they are rich in cortical bone, the hard-outer shell. If we can find a way to increase cortical bone width specifically, this will improve bone strength at the femur, hip and wrist – the sites that need strength the most when someone falls.
We will study the cells that are located within the periosteum (exterior surface of bone). Using lineage tracing, we will be able to identify and track cell populations within the periosteum. We will also examine how these cells respond to a known anabolic therapy leading to the development of wider bones, which leads to improved bone strength. By studying the cells and molecular mechanisms involved, we may identify novel targets and pathways that may be used in the future to improve bone strength.
This project will involve lineage tracing using mouse models, cryosectioning, immunofluorescence, flow cytometry, RNAseq and cell culture to characterise the periosteal cell populations and identify the molecular determinants of bone width.

Durther information about this project can also be provided by [email protected]

Supervised by:

  • Prof Natalie Sims
  • Dr Natalie Wee
  • Disease Focus:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Research Unit:

  • Bone cell biology & disease
  • For further information about this project, contact: [email protected]