A/Prof Natalie Sims

Research Unit

Bone cell biology and disease


Head, Bone Cell Biology and Disease Unit
Associate Director, SVI
NHMRC Senior Research Fellow

Professional Experience

1991           BSc (Hons) The University of Adelaide, South Australia
1995           PhD The University of Adelaide, South Australia


2013            Herbert A Fleisch Award, International Bone and Mineral Society
2010            Fuller-Albright Award, American Society of Bone and Mineral Research
2009            Board of Directors, International Bone and Mineral Society
2006            Editorial Board, Bone
2003            International Bone and Mineral Society/BONE Best Basic Science Paper Award
1999            Young Investigator Award, American Society of Bone and Mineral Research

Research Interests

Research goal: to identify new pathways for treatment of bone disease by studying intercellular communication within the bone microenvironment, particularly the communication between osteoblasts (bone forming cells) and osteoclasts (bone resorbing cells).
Approaches used include histomorphometric and ex vivo cell culture analyses of knockout animals and animal models of destructive bone diseases, with particular emphasis on diseases of bone remodeling including osteoporosis as well as work on rheumatology and osteoarthritis.

Selected Publications

  1. Buenzli P, Sims NA Quantifying the osteocyte network in the human skeleton. Bone. Feb 20(75)144-150.
  2. Chia LY, Martin TJ, Walsh NC, Sims NA. Isolation and gene expression of haematopoietic cell-free preparations of highly purified murine osteocytes. Bone. 2015 Jan;71(1):34-42. 
  3. Standal T, Johnson RW, Brennan HJ, Poulton IJ, McGregor NE, Walker EC, Martin TJ, Sims NA. gp130 signalling in osteocytes is required for the anabolic action of parathyroid hormone. Journal of Endocrinology. 2014 Nov;223(2):181-90.
  4. Tonna S, Takyar FM, Vrahnas C, Crimeen-Irwin B, Ho PWM, Poulton IJ, Brennan HJ, McGregor NE, Allan EH, Nguyen H, Forwood MR, Tatarczuch L, Mackie EJ, Martin TJ, Sims NA. EphrinB2 controls osteoblast differentiation and limits apoptosis. FASEB J. 2014 Oct;28(10):4482-96.
  5. Johnson RW,  Brennan HJ, Vrahnas C, Poulton IJ, McGregor NE, Standal T, Walker EC, Koh T-T, Nguyen H, Walsh NC, Forwood MR, Martin TJ, Sims NA. The primary function of gp130 signalling in osteoblasts is to maintain bone formation and strength, rather than promote osteoclast formation. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. 2014 Jun;29(6):1492-505.
  6. Gooi JH*, Chia LY*, Walsh NC, Karsdal MA, Quinn JMW, Martin TJ, Sims NA. Decline in calcitonin receptor expression in osteocytes with age. *, equal first authors. Journal of Endocrinology. 2014 221(2):181-191.
  7. Sims NA, Ng KW. Implications of osteoblast-osteoclast interactions in the management of osteoporosis by anti-resorptive agents Denosumab and Odanacatib. Current Osteoporosis Reports. 2014 12(1):98-106.
  8. Johnson RW, White JD, Walker EC, Martin TJ, Sims NA. Myokines (muscle-derived cytokines and chemokines) including ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) inhibit osteoblast differentiation. Bone. 2014 64:47-56.
  9. Takyar FM, Tonna S, Ho PWM, Crimeen-Irwin B, Baker EK, Martin TJ, Sims NA. EphrinB2/EphB4 inhibition in the osteoblast lineage modifies the anabolic response to parathyroid hormone. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. 2013 Apr;28(4):912-25. Awarded the Sol Posen Award for Research Excellence by the ANZBMS.
  10.  Walker EC, Poulton IJ, McGregor NE, Ho PWM, Allan EH, Quach JM, Martin TJ, Sims NA. Sustained RANKL response to parathyroid hormone in oncostatin M receptor-deficient osteoblasts converts anabolic treatment to a catabolic effect. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. 2012;27:902-912.
  11. Poulton IJ, McGregor NE, Pompolo S, Walker EC, Sims NA. Contrasting roles of leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) in neonatal bone development and adult bone remodeling involve regulation of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. 2012;27:586-595.
  12. Winkler IG*, Sims NA*, Pettit AR*, Barbier V, Nowlan B, Helwani F, Poulton IJ, van Rooijen N, Alexander KA, Raggatt LJ, Lévesque J-P. Bone marrow macrophages are essential to hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) niches and their depletion mobilizes HSC. Blood. *, contributed equally. Dec 2;116(23):4815-28 (2010). ISI Highly Cited.
  13. Sims, N.A., Walsh, N.C. gp130 cytokines and bone remodeling in health and disease. BMB Reports. 2010 Aug;43(8):513-22.
  14. Gooi JH, Pompolo S, Karsdal M, Kulkarni NH, Kalajzic I, McAhren SH, Han B, Onyia JE, Ho PWM, Walsh NC, Chia LY, Gillespie MT, Quinn JMW, Martin TJ & Sims NA. Calcitonin impairs the anabolic effect of PTH and stimulates sclerostin expression by osteocytes. Bone 46(6):1486-1497 (2010)
  15. Walker, E.C., McGregor, N.E., Poulton, I.J., Solano, M., Pompolo, S., Fernandes, T.J., Constable, M. J., Nicholson, G.C., Zhang, J.G., Nicola, N.A., Gillespie, M.T., Martin, T. J., & Sims, N.A. Oncostatin M promotes bone formation independently of resorption when signaling through leukemia inhibitory factor receptor in mice. Journal of Clinical Investigation. J Clin Invest. 2010 Feb 1;120(2):582-92
  16. Walker, E.C., McGregor, N.E., Poulton, I.J., Pompolo, S., Allan, E.A., Quinn, J.M.W., Gillespie, M.T., Martin, T.J., & Sims, N.A. Cardiotrophin-1 is an Osteoclast-Derived Stimulus of Bone Formation Required for Normal Bone Remodeling. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. 2008 23(12):2025-2032.