Joshua Li, MD, PhD, an associate professor of orthopaedic surgery in the Division of Spine Surgery, and Li Jin, PhD, an associate professor of orthopaedic surgery, received a five-year NIH – R01grant from NIAMS with $2.3 million in funding. The title of their study is “Deciphering macrophage phenotype and function in disc herniation and associated back and leg pain”.
Characterizing macrophage phenotypes and functions and disc-macrophage crosstalk will advance mechanistic understanding of disc herniation and lay a foundation to develop effective targeted therapies. The ultimate goal of their research is to identify molecular targets and disease-modifying therapeutics to treat disc degeneration-induced back and leg pain, which is the leading cause of disability in the US and worldwide.
Other collaborators on this project include Jose Oberholzer, MD and Yong Wang, PhD in the Department of Surgery, Division of Transplantation, Joe Sung, PhD in the Department of Medicine, and Charles Farber, PhD in the Department of Public Health Sciences.