Osteoprogenitors in bone development, homeostasis and repair
Live Webinar: 12 October 2016, 4-5pm CET
- Learn about the cutting-edge science and career paths of the most successful young scientists in Europe
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- 25 min science presentation
- 10 min presentation of the career path
- 25 min Q&A
About the speaker:
Christa Maes is Associate Professor at the KU Leuven in Belgium and Group leader of the Laboratory of Skeletal Cell Biology and Physiology (SCEBP), which is part of the Skeletal Biology and Engineering Research Center (SBE) directed by Frank Luyten. The overall goal of SBE’s integrated basic, applied and clinical research plan is to advance cartilage, bone and joint regeneration.
Over the course of her studies, Christa developed a strong interest in the molecular mechanisms underlying skeletal cell functions, in embryonic development as well as adult bone homeostasis, repair processes and diseases involving the skeleton. Graduated as Bio-engineer in Cell- and Gene Technology at the KU Leuven in 1998, she next prepared a PhD dissertation at the Faculty of Medicine on the role of angiogenic factors of the VEGF family in bone development and repair, under the supervision of Geert Carmeliet and Roger Bouillon. During her postdoctoral studies she was trained in the study of bone metastasis in mice in the lab of Theresa Guise (then at the University of Virginia; currently at Indiana University), and spent a 2.5-year research period with Henry Kronenberg at Harvard Medical School. During this time she optimized novel transgenic mouse models for osteoblast lineage cell visualization and tracing, tools that led to new insights in the origin and behavior of osteoprogenitors and osteoblasts in bone development and fracture repair. Christa was appointed tenure-track Assistant Professor at the KU Leuven in October 2010 and could set up her own laboratory with the support of an ERC Starting Grant awarded in November 2011.
During her career Christa obtained national and international fellowship support and her work was awarded several Young Investigator Awards, including from the ASBMR, the IBMS, the Dutch bone society (NVCB), Gordon Conferences and the NYAS. She received the 2006 PhD Excellence Award of the Belgian Society for Cell and Developmental Biology, the 2011 Annual Lecture Award of the Belgian Endocrine Society, and the 2013 ECTS Iain T Boyle Award. Christa is active in the international bone community; she co-chaired the IBMS Young Investigator Committee, organizing scientific and career development workshops for junior researchers, was one of the lead organizers of the IBMS Herbert Fleisch workshops in Brugge (held in 2014 and 2016), and is a member of the ASBMR Membership Engagement and Education Committee.
The overall objective of the research program of the SCEBP Lab is to gain novel insights in the molecular control of skeletal cell functioning, with a particular focus on osteoblast lineage cells (osteoprogenitors and osteoblasts). We are interested in the mechanisms underlying bone formation in development, adult homeostasis and fracture healing, but also in the significance of osteogenic cell biology in the broader physiological context of the organism, including hematopoiesis and global energy metabolism.
Currently ongoing projects focus particularly on the molecular regulation of osteogenic cell migration and adhesion, cell fate decisions and differentiation of skeletal progenitors, and interactions between osteogenic cells and the skeletal vasculature. As prime working models we use genetically modified mice (conditional and/or inducible knockout mice, fluorescent lineage tracing), in vitro systems, and a variety of molecular methods.
With our studies we hope to reach an increased understanding of some of the mechanisms regulating the recruitment, spatial organization, differentiation and functioning of bone-producing osteoblasts. Such insights could lead to the identification of new targets for the development of anabolic treatments of osteoporosis and other disorders, and to improve bone repair and regenerative tissue engineering strategies.
Recent reviews: Dirckx, N, Van Hul, M, Maes, C. (2013). Osteoblast recruitment to sites of bone formation in skeletal development, homeostasis, and regeneration. Birth Defects Research C, Embryo Today, 99 (3), 170-191. Maes C. (2013). Role and regulation of vascularization processes in endochondral bones. Calcif Tissue Int. 92: 307-323.
Top 5 Publications:
1. Maes, C., Kobayashi, T., Selig, M.K., Torrekens, S., Roth, S.I., Mackem, S., Carmeliet, G. & Kronenberg, H.M. (2010). Osteoblast precursors, but not mature osteoblasts, move into developing and fractured bones along with invading blood vessels. Developmental Cell, 19: 329-344.
2. Maes, C., Carmeliet, G., Schipani, E. (2012). Hypoxia-driven pathways in bone development, regeneration and disease. Nature Reviews. Rheumatology, 8 (6), 358-366.
3. Schmidt, T., Kharabi-Masouleh, B., Loges, S., Cauwenberghs, S., Fraisl, P., Maes, C., Jonckx, B., De Keersmaecker, K., Kleppe, R., Tjwa, M., Schenk, T., Vinckier, S., Fragoso, R., De Mol, M., Beel, K., Dias, S., Verfaillie, C., Clark, R., Brümmendorf, T., Vandenberghe, P., Rafii, S., Holyoake, T., Hochhaus, A., Cools, J., Karin, M., Carmeliet, G., Dewerchin, M., Carmeliet, P. (2011). Loss or Inhibition of Stromal-Derived PlGF Prolongs Survival of Mice with Imatinib-Resistant Bcr-Abl1(+) Leukemia. Cancer Cell, 19 (6), 740-753.
4. Maes, C., Goossens, S., Bartunkova, S., Drogat, B., Coenegrachts, L., Stockmans, I., Moermans, K., Nyabi, O., Haigh, K., Naessens, M., Haenebalcke, L., Tuckermann, J.P., Tjwa, M., Carmeliet, P., Mandic, V., David, J.P., Behrens, A., Nagy, A., Carmeliet, G. & Haigh J.J. (2010). Increased skeletal VEGF enhances beta-catenin activity and results in excessively ossified bones. The EMBO Journal, 29: 424-441.
5. Maes, C., Coenegrachts, L., Stockmans, I., Daci, E., Luttun, A., Petryk, A., Gopalakrishnan, R., Moermans, K., Smets, N., Verfaillie, C.M., Carmeliet, P., Bouillon, R. & Carmeliet, G. (2006). Placental growth factor mediates mesenchymal cell development, cartilage turnover, and bone remodeling during fracture repair. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 116: 1230-1242.