PhD Students Iris Boraschi and Juliana Marulanda receive the Network for Oral and Bone Health Research Student Scholarship

February 2016
RSBO award

Juliana Marulanda, left, and Iris Boraschi, right

Congratulation to Iris Boraschi and Juliana Marulanda for receiving the Network for Oral and Bone Health Research (Réseau de Recherche en Santé Buccodentaire et Osseuse, RSBO) student scholarship award! The scholarship is valued at $15,000 is awarded to students who submit a project consistent with the Network’s research priorities and supervised by a regular member of the Network

Iris Boraschi is supervised by Dr. Svetlana Komarova and was awarded the scholarship for her project “Regulation of osteoclasts by the collagen type 1 and its degradation products”.

Collagen type I is one of the most abundant proteins in the human body, and is the main protein of the extracellular matrix of bone. Osteoclast are the bone resorbing cells which destroy the bone matrix. In some chronic bone disease caused by mutations in collagen, abnormal bone loss can be seen. Genetically, osteoclasts don’t produce collagen and shouldn’t be affected by it therefore the goal of this project is to understand the biology of this physiological finding.

Her approach is based on a very new and attractive area of research called “osteoimmunology” in which it’s believe that the bone environment is an extension of the circulatory system and therefore part of the immune system. Through her research she expects that this project may lead to the development of novel inhibitors of osteoclast function, and these inhibitors may be useful for treatment of diseases associated with excessive bone loss.

Juliana Marulanda is supervised by Dr. Monzur Murshed and was awarded the scholarship for her project “Role of Matrix Gla Protein in midface development”.

Abnormal facial development is a common birth defect. In her research, she is studying Matrix Gla Protein to examine how its deficiency may alter the properties of the growth centres in the developing craniofacial tissues. Her approach uses a mouse model of Human Keutel Syndrome, which consists of impaired midface development.

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