The mission of the Arthritis and Tissue Degeneration Program is to define cellular and molecular mechanisms important in musculoskeletal tissue destruction and to develop novel approaches to preventing tissue destruction in patients with arthritis and related diseases. Important components of the mission include education and mentorship of students and junior scientists, and providing a platform for interactions among basic and clinical investigators interested in orthopedic and rheumatic diseases.
Cells resident in musculoskeletal tissues, including osteoclasts, osteoblasts, chondrocytes, and fibroblasts mediate homeostatic remodeling and maintain tissue integrity. Dysregulation of the balance between the destructive and reparative functions of these cells during the course of arthritis and related orthopedic and rheumatic diseases results in tissue damage. The function of tissue cells in these diseases is regulated by extracellular factors and environmental stimuli, including extracellular matrix and soluble factors, and infiltrating inflammatory cells. The long range goal of the program is to understand the cellular and molecular basis for tissue destruction in orthopedic and rheumatic diseases. The specific goals are: