Baron Laboratory

Roland Baron , DDS, PhD, Chair and Professor of Oral Medicine, Infection, and Immunity; Professor of Internal Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital

The Baron laboratory focuses on signal transduction and the ways in which it controls cell differentiation and function. For this purpose, members of the lab study primarily skeletal development and remodeling as a model system. In this context, the program of the laboratory is divided in three well-defined but highly interactive main research goals:

1. Understanding the role of the AP1 family of transcription factors, specifically Delta FosB in skeletal development and in particular in the determination of mesenchymal cell lineages between the osteoblast and adipocyte cell types.

2. Characterizing the role of Src tyrosine kinase and its substrate Cbl in the signaling from integrins and other receptors involved in cell adhesion and migration, the role of ubiquitination in these processes, and the role of these processes in cell migration, using as a model system the migration and function of the bone resorbing cell, the osteoclast.

3. Characterizing the molecular mechanisms by which the G Protein-coupled calcitonin receptor regulates the cytoskeleton, adhesion and migration in osteoclasts, and its cross-talk with integrin signaling, Src, Cbl, and the focal adhesion kinase Pyk2.

Dr. Baron’s approach combines in-vitro and in-vivo experiments—often involving genetically modified transgenic or knockout mice and their isolated cells—that integrate molecular, cellular, and in-vivo studies to determine both the molecular mechanisms of cell biology and pathology and the impact of these mechanisms and their alteration at the organ level in normal and disease conditions. This work is directly relevant to several medical issues, including osteoporosis, bone metastasis in cancer, cancer itself through his focus on several proto-oncogenes, and endocrine disorders.