Jackson Laboratory to receive $3.2 million federal grant to help osteoporosis

August 15th, 2013 · Jackson Laboratory has received a $3.2 million federal grant to research how healthy bones develop and what goes wrong when osteoporosis and other bone disorders happen. The five-year grant comes from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. The research project is another joint effort between The Jackson Laboratory and scientists at the University of Connecticut. That $1.1 billion lab – The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine — is currently under construction and is expected to open in the fall of 2014.

The new research project will contribute to an international effort to “delete” or illuminate each gene in the mouse genome in order to systematically examine the function of that gene on the animal’s development and health, according to a news release. This “Knockout Mouse Project” needs a comprehensive examination of the skeleton to help the research – that’s where the new grant will be implemented.

“Your skeleton changes constantly: every day your bones break down and build back up,” said Ackert-Bicknell the led of the research team and bone genetics expert. “What we’re trying to do in our study is to capture the ‘how and why’ this process becomes imbalanced, resulting in osteoporosis.”

Other major team members are David Rowe, M.D., professor of reconstructive sciences at the UConn Health Center School of Dentistry; and Dong-Guk Shin, Ph.D., professor of computer science at UConn’s bioinformatics division.

Osteoporosis affects half of all Americans older than 50 according to Ackert-Bicknell.