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Welcome to the Grodzinsky Lab at MIT

Our group focuses on problems motivated by diseases of the musculoskeletal system including arthritis, connective tissue pathologies and, more generally, the molecular biology and biophysics of the extracellular matrix. It is well known that post-traumatic joint injury causes cartilage degeneration and arthritis, but the mechanisms governing cellular transcription, translation, and post-translational responses to physical overload are not known. Group members are using genomic and proteomic tools to identify key pathways associated with injury and tissue degradation. At the same time, atomic force microscopy and related biophysical tools are used to image and probe the molecular structure and nanomechanical behavior of extracellular matrix molecules synthesized by connective tissue cells in health and disease. Here, the objective is to discover the molecular determinants underlying tissue pathology. Complementary projects focus on chondrogenesis of stem cells seeded into novel self-assembling peptide scaffolds for repair of degraded or osteoarthritic cartilage. The molecular fine structure of stem cell-synthesized extracellular matrix molecules and the anabolic/catabolic responses of these stem cells to physiological loading during and after differentiation are studied in vitro. Concurrent studies in vivo using small and large animal models are ongoing.

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