The Ionescu Laboratory focuses on the epigenetic regulation of skeletal development and disease. Our areas of interest include:
Using a combination of genomics, genetics and biochemistry, we want to study the critical interactions between FoxA family of transcription factors with their partners and determine the gene signature of the cartilage/bone interface. Novel mouse models are generated to further understand the molecular mechanisms orchestrated by these interactions.
Using microsurgery to induce Osteoarthritis in mice, we want to understand the sequence of events that leads to irreversible cartilage damage. Laser capture microscopy coupled with Next Generation RNA-seq will be used to identify candidate genes in various conditional knock-out mouse models.
We have recently discovered a discrete population of skeletal progenitor cells. Cellular behavior in response to aging or injury will be tracked using in-vivo molecular imaging. FACS analysis will be used to isolate and characterize this population for stem-like markers and its ability to contribute to cartilage regeneration.
Biological responses taking place in a developing embryo may be recapitulated during disease or injury and we aim to use the lessons learned during skeletal development to better understand various skeletal pathologies and to identify disruptive inhibitors for treatments.