Prof Natalie Sims

Research Unit

Bone cell biology & disease


Head, Bone Cell Biology and Disease Unit
Deputy Director, SVI
[email protected]

Professional Experience

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


2019-               Professorial Fellow, The University of Melbourne
2020                Paula Stern Achievement Award, American Society for Bone and
                        Mineral Research
2019-2021       President, Australian and New Zealand Bone and Mineral
2018-2021       Associate Editor, Journal of Bone and Mineral Research
2018-2023       Associate Editor, Endocrine Reviews
2016-2021       Editor, Journal of Biological Chemistry
2014-2018       Senior Editor, Bone             
2013                Herbert A Fleisch Award, International Bone and Mineral Society
2010                Fuller-Albright Award, American Society of Bone and Mineral
2009-2019      Associate Professor, Principal Research Fellow, The University of

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), osteoclasts (bone resorbing cells), and the internal network of cells within the bone matrix (osteocytes).

My laboratory collaborates widely and is internationally recognised for our expertise in the  study of gene knockout animals and animal models of destructive bone diseases. Our methods include histology, histomorphometry, micro-computed tomography, Fourier-transform infrared microscopy, immunohistochemistry, confocal immunofluorescence, cell culture and molecular biology techniques.

Selected Publications

  1. Cortical bone maturation in mice requires SOCS3 suppression of gp130/STAT3 signalling in osteocytes.  Walker EC, Truong K, McGregor NE, Poulton IJ, Isojima T, Gooi JH, Martin TJ, Sims NA. Elife. 2020 May 27;9:e56666. doi: 10.7554/eLife.56666.
  2. Osteoclasts Provide Coupling Signals to Osteoblast Lineage Cells Through Multiple Mechanisms. Sims NA, Martin TJ. Annu Rev Physiol. 2020 Feb 10;82:507-529. doi: 10.1146/annurev-physiol-021119-034425. Epub 2019 Sep 25.
  3. Increased autophagy in EphrinB2-deficient osteocytes is associated with elevated secondary mineralization and brittle bone. Vrahnas C, Blank M, Dite TA, Tatarczuch L, Ansari N, Crimeen-Irwin B, Nguyen H, Forwood MR, Hu Y, Ikegame M, Bambery KR, Petibois C, Mackie EJ, Tobin MJ, Smyth GK, Oakhill JS, Martin TJ, Sims NA. Nat Commun. 2019 Jul 31;10(1):3436. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-11373-9.
  4. IL-6 exhibits both cis- and trans-signaling in osteocytes and osteoblasts, but only trans-signaling promotes bone formation and osteoclastogenesis. McGregor NE, Murat M, Elango J, Poulton IJ, Walker EC, Crimeen-Irwin B, Ho PWM, Gooi JH, Martin TJ, Sims NA. J Biol Chem. 2019 May 10;294(19):7850-7863. doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA119.008074. Epub 2019 Mar 28.
  5. Autocrine and Paracrine Regulation of the Murine Skeleton by Osteocyte-Derived Parathyroid Hormone-Related Protein. Ansari N, Ho PW, Crimeen-Irwin B, Poulton IJ, Brunt AR, Forwood MR, Divieti Pajevic P, Gooi JH, Martin TJ, Sims NA. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. 2018 Jan;33(1):137-153. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.3291.
  6. Bone corticalization requires local SOCS3 activity and is promoted by androgen action via interleukin-6. Cho DC, Brennan HJ, Johnson RW, Poulton IJ, Gooi JH, Tonkin BA, McGregor NE, Walker EC, Handelsman DJ, Martin TJ, Sims NA. Nature Communications. 2017 Oct 9;8(1):806. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-00920-x.
  7. Anabolic action of parathyroid hormone (PTH) does not compromise bone matrix mineral composition or maturation. Vrahnas C, Pearson TA, Brunt AR, Forwood MR, Bambery KR, Tobin MJ, Martin TJ, Sims NA. Bone. 2016 Dec;93:146-154. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2016.09.022.
  8. Murine Oncostatin M Acts via Leukemia Inhibitory Factor Receptor to Phosphorylate Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 3 (STAT3) but Not STAT1, an Effect That Protects Bone Mass. Walker EC, Johnson RW, Hu Y, Brennan HJ, Poulton IJ, Zhang JG, Jenkins BJ, Smyth GK, Nicola NA, Sims NA. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2016 Oct 7;291(41):21703-21716.
  9. Cell-specific paracrine actions of IL-6 family cytokines from bone, marrow and muscle that control bone formation and resorption. Sims NA. International Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology. 2016 Oct;79:14-23. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2016.08.003. Review.
  10. Chondrocytic ephrin B2 promotes cartilage destruction by osteoclasts in endochondral ossification. Tonna S, Poulton IJ, Taykar F, Ho PW, Tonkin B, Crimeen-Irwin B, Tatarczuch L, McGregor NE, Mackie EJ, Martin TJ, Sims NA. Development. 2016 Feb 15;143(4):648-57. doi: 10.1242/dev.125625. Epub 2016 Jan 11.
  11. Quantifying the osteocyte network in the human skeleton. Buenzli PR, Sims NA. Bone. 2015 Jun;75:144-50. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2015.02.016.
  12. Isolation and gene expression of haematopoietic-cell-free preparations of highly purified murine osteocytes. Chia LY, Walsh NC, Martin TJ, Sims NA. Bone. 2015 Mar;72:34-42. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2014.11.005. Epub 2014 Nov 15.
  13. EphrinB2 signaling in osteoblasts promotes bone mineralization by preventing apoptosis. Tonna S, Takyar FM, Vrahnas C, Crimeen-Irwin B, Ho PW, Poulton IJ, Brennan HJ, McGregor NE, Allan EH, Nguyen H, Forwood MR, Tatarczuch L, Mackie EJ, Martin TJ, Sims NA. FASEB Journal. 2014 Oct;28(10):4482-96. doi: 10.1096/fj.14-254300. Epub 2014 Jun 30.
  14. The primary function of gp130 signaling in osteoblasts is to maintain bone formation and strength, rather than promote osteoclast formation. Johnson RW, Brennan HJ, Vrahnas C, Poulton IJ, McGregor NE, Standal T, Walker EC, Koh TT, Nguyen H, Walsh NC, Forwood MR, Martin TJ, Sims NA. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. 2014 Jun;29(6):1492-505. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.2159.