Vivien‘s first first-author paper entitled “Effects of Abnormal Muscle Forces on Prenatal Joint Morphogenesis in Mice” has been published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Research. The paper characterises the effects of absent or reduced muscle on prenatal development of the major synovial joints. Vivien used image registration to qualitatively and quantitatively compare joint shapes between muscleless, reduced-muscle and normal mice. Different joints were affected more than others, and what we found most interesting is that a reduction in muscle often led to *more* severe effects than no muscle- like in the humeral distal condyles (blue: control, yellow: reduced-muscle, purple: muscleless)
The Developmental Biomechanics group headed en masse to a sunny and hot Barcelona for the EMBO Workshop on Limb Development and Regeneration: New Tools for a Classic Model System. Niamh and Yuming gave talks while Devi, James, Josepha, Nidal, Pati (our talented MEng project student!) and Vivien presented posters. Devi and Pati also gave flash talks to highlight the work in their posters. The group enjoyed sampling the lovely Catalan food and the sea swimming right beside the conference venue!
Niamh presented an invited talk at the 9th International Conference on Children’s Bone Health (ICCBH) in Salzburg from the 22-25th June 2019. The meeting provided an interesting forum for presenting the group’s research as many of the participants are from an endocrinology background.
A bittersweet farewell to Kaushik who leaves the group to take up a faculty position at IIT Delhi. We will miss you Kaushik but look forward to continuing to collaborate and to all the great achievements that will your future will bring!
Cristian is leaving Imperial College to take up an exciting new position in industry with global healthcare company BTG. We are very sorry to lose him but wish him all the best with the next step of his career- good luck Cristian!!!
Saima and Niamh both gave presentations at the 2019 Orthopaedic Research Society in Austin Texas in early February. Saima presented her NIRA-shortlisted work on “Muscle loading determines distribution of collagens in the developing skeleton” while Niamh gave an invited talk to the ORS Tendon Section on “The biomechanics and mechanobiology of skeletogenesis”
A warm welcome to Nidal Khatib who joined the Developmental Biomechanics group in January. Nidal will be using our mechanostimulation bioreactor system to explore mechanotransductory pathways and mechanisms acting during prenatal skeletal development. His project is a collaboration with Prof David Hoey from Trinity College Dublin, and is funded by Niamh’s ERC Starting Grant.
Aurélie‘s paper (on which Yuming and Rebecca are also authors) entitled “Short-term foetal immobility temporally and progressively affects chick spinal curvature and anatomy and rib development” has been published in eCM (European Cells and Materials). The paper describes how a very short period of paralysis during prenatal development can have severe and lasting effects on development of the spine and ribs, as summarised in the graphical abstract. This work has consequences for understanding congenital scoliosis, for which a change or reduction in fetal movements could be an important factor. The project was funded by the Leverhulme Trust and was a collaboration with Prof James Iatridis in the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, USA. View the paper for free here.
The group celebrated an “eco-friendly” Secret Santa this year, with homemade or edible gifts being the rule. Some very tasty treats were shared, but the best gift was definitely the “mini Kaushik” that Yuming made, complete with computer and signature water bottle. Kudos Yuming! The secret santa fun was followed by a very nice Indian meal in South Kensington. Happy Christmas from all the Nowlan group!