MaineHealth Institute for Research Receives $1.8M NIH Grant to Study How the Nervous System Affects Bone

June 2021

Congratulations to Katherine Motyl, PhD, the Principal Investigator on a newly awarded five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Dr. Motyl and her team will examine how the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) communicates with osteoclasts (cells that dissolve bone) through beta adrenergic receptors and how this pathway contributes to age- and SNS-related bone loss. This research will also provide a more complete understanding of how commonly prescribed beta-blockers may help prevent osteoporosis.  According to Dr. Motyl, “This is exciting work –  I am looking forward to the next five years of clinically relevant research investigating mechanisms of and treatments for osteoporosis.”  Co-Investigators are Karen Houseknecht, MS, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology and Associate Provost for Research and Scholarship, University of New England and Christine Lary, PhD, Senior Biostatistician and Faculty Scientist I, Center for Outcomes Research & Evaluation, MHIR.

This R01 launches Dr. Motyl’s career as an independent investigator and is testament to MHIR’s strong mentoring program as well as Katie’s outstanding research skills.  Katie received an NIH postdoctoral fellowship followed by an NIH Career Development award under Dr. Cliff Rosen’s mentorship, after which she led her own research project as part of Dr. Lucy Liaw’s COBRE in Metabolic networks.  These career development and mentorship opportunities all contributed to the award of Katie’s first R01, a critical step forward for biomedical researchers.

The research described is supported by the National Institute Of Arthritis And Musculoskeletal And Skin Diseases of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01AR076349. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.