Charles Farber, PhD, Secures $3.6 Million Grant to Tackle Osteoporosis

April 16, 2024 by

Charles Farber UVA

Charles Farber, PhD

Charles R. Farber, PhD, a professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences and director of the Center for Public Health Genomics at the University of Virginia, has secured a $3.6 million R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health. This grant supports the project titled “Large-Scale Genetic Analysis of Bone Strength in Diversity Outbred Mice.”

Osteoporosis, a condition marked by weakened bones and heightened fracture risk, affects over 12 million individuals in the United States. The elderly, in particular, face serious health hazards and even mortality due to fractures. Alarmingly, as the population ages, fractures are expected to increase by 50% in the next decade.

Traditionally, researchers have focused on bone mineral density to gauge bone strength. However, the inability to directly measure bone strength in humans has hindered progress in this area.

Dr. Farber and his team are pioneering a novel approach to tackle this challenge. They aim to utilize the diverse genetic pool of a unique mouse resource to uncover previously unknown genetic factors influencing bone strength. By analyzing the genetic profiles of thousands of specially bred mice and correlating them with their bone strength, the researchers hope to illuminate the underlying genetic mechanisms governing bone health.

The ultimate objective of this research is to pinpoint new genes associated with bone strength, potentially opening doors to more effective treatments for individuals affected by osteoporosis.

Collaborators on this project include Karl Broman, PhD, from the University of Wisconsin, Mary Bouxsein, PhD, from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Cheryl Ackert-Bicknell, PhD, from the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and Steve Tommasini, PhD, from Yale University.

Filed Under: Research