Molecular and Cellular Bone Biology Laboratory

The Molecular and Cellular Bone Biology Laboratory is directed by John J. Callaci, PhD. The laboratory is a recent addition to the research capabilities of the Loyola University Department of Orthopaedic Surgery & Rehabilitation, having begun operations in August of 2006. The laboratory is funded by a recent NIAAA R01 grant to Dr. Callaci, and start-up funding from the Loyola University Department of Orthopaedic Surgery & Rehabilitation.

The primary focus of the laboratory is to examine the effects of excessive alcohol consumption on molecular, cellular and biomechanical parameters of bone. Using a rat model of binge alcohol consumption, we have begun an investigation to discover novel biomarkers of alcohol-related bone damage and to uncover the mechanisms behind the detrimental effects of alcohol on bone. We plan to use adolescent, adult and ovariectomized adult rats to determine if alcohol has differential effects on bone depending on age and hormone status. This project is funded by the NIAAA R01 grant to Dr. Callaci which runs through the spring of 2010. This grant has funded two recent peer-reviewed research articles and several more are in various stages of completion. I n addition to this project, the laboratory has initiated an effort to develop a research program in Orthopaedic Trauma. Specifically, we are interested in the effect of alcohol on fracture repair mechanisms and clinical parameters relevant to outcome in patients with multiple traumatic fractures. In addition to current funding sources, Dr. Callaci is involved as a Co-PI in a collaborative P20 NIAAA center grant application entitled Acute Alcohol and Trauma: Mechanisms of Tissue Injury and Repair. The laboratory also recently received a research donation from the Blum-Kovler Foundation for our work on adolescent binge drinking and its effects on skeletal health.

The laboratory is currently staffed by two research technicians, one graduate student and one orthopaedic resident.

Ryan Himes, BS joined the laboratory in September 2006. He is a 2006 graduate of Wheaton College with a major in Biochemistry. Ryan has been an important member of the team and is already a co-author on two peer-reviewed publications from the laboratory. Ryan is currently working on biosignature identification related to our NIAAA grant, and assists in all projects currently underway in the lab

Elizabeth Favre, BS, joined the lab in January 2008. Elizabeth is a graduate of the University of Michigan and has worked in research laboratories both at Michigan and at the University of Chicago. She has experience in small animal surgery and will be an asset in development of the model used in the fracture repair project.

Kristen Lauing, BS, is a graduate student at Loyola University who recently joined the lab to complete her PhD thesis research project. Kristen will work on an exciting project examining the modulation of signaling pathways involved in the fracture healing process by acute alcohol exposure. Kristen is funded by a T32 training grant from NIAAA for training of future alcohol-research scientists.