Bone & Cartilage

Andrew T. Dudley, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Genetics Cell Biology & Anatomy
Special Scientist, Regenerative Medicine

Dr. Dudley's laboratory studies the musculoskeletal system and how it develops. The extracellular matrix of bone and cartilage is their basic functional unit, whereas in other tissues, the cells themselves are the basic functional unit. They study how the extracellular matrix develops so that bone and cartilage can form appropriately.  “Establishing the infrastructure of the matrix as well as the cellular component is necessary/critical as we look to understand how the regeneration processes can be applied to the musculoskeletal system."  Projects in his laboratory include bone development and the generation of progenitor cells (endogenous stem cells) from the present bone tissue to utilize in regeneration via genetic manipulation. Bone development is driven by the growth plate cartilage, which is a made up of cells that create their own strictly controlled environment. As the cells mature, their cell divisions and rearrangements dictate the rate of bone growth and the final size and shape of the bone.

Dr. Andy Dudley

Peter F. Kador, Ph.D. FARVO

Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy


Dr. Kador’s expertise is in the development of aldose reductase inhibitors and multifunctional antioxidants, diabetic and age-related ocular complications, and vision research. A current project he is working on within Regenerative Medicine is based on our discovery that aldose reductase inhibitors ameliorate periodontal bone loss and bone quality in both diabetic and non-diabetic rats.  Since the biochemical mechanism through which the enzyme aldose reductase has been established to initiate pathological lesions is through the intracellular conversion of excess glucose to sorbitol under hyperglycemic conditions associated with diabetes mellitus, the object of this project is to elucidate the mechanism by which aldose reductase is linked to bone metabolism.

 Peter F. Kador, Ph.D. FARVO

Ted R. Mikuls, M.D.

Umbach Professor of Rheumatology

Department of Internal Medicine


Dr. Mikuls joined the UNMC Rheumatology and Immunology Division 2002 where he is currently the Umbach Professor of Rheumatology and is active in translational research, education, and patient care. Dr. Mikuls research efforts are focused on the epidemiology, outcomes, and pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) with recent efforts focused on the links between autoimmunity and joint damage in RA.  He has led the multicenter VA Rheumatoid Arthritis registry since its inception in 2002.  He receives research funding from the VA, NIH, US Department of Defense, Industry, and the Rheumatology Research Foundation.

 Ted R. Mikuls, M.D.


Richard A. Reinhardt, D.D.S, Ph.D

BJ & Ann Moran Professor of Periodontology

College of Dentistry – Surgical Specialties


Dr. Reinhardt’s clinical and research interests focus on how to prevent or regenerate alveolar bone loss caused by local inflammation, specifically periodontitis and tooth extraction. The role of major systemic co-morbidities, such as post-menopausal estrogen deficiencies (osteoporosis) and diabetes, in these processes also is central to the research endeavors. Pharmaceutical interventions designed to inhibit inflammation and stimulate bone growth, including simvastatin formulations, are being tested in animal models of experimental periodontitis and tooth extraction. The goal is to advance promising approaches into clinical trials in the near future. Human investigations of the efficacy of currently-approved local anti-inflammatory drugs also are being conducted by the research team at the UNMC College of Dentistry.

 Richard A. Reinhardt, D.D.S, Ph.D.


Geoffrey M. Thiele, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Internal Medicine

Professor, Department of Pathology and Microbiology (Courtesy)

Dr. Thiele’s laboratory investigates the role of modified self-proteins in the activation of the immune system resulting in the development and/or progression of autoimmune diseases.  As part of these studies, the laboratory has become involved in the effects of the immune system on bone re-absorption, erosion, formation and re-modeling.  Current studies involve:  1)      The role that citrullinated proteins (change of an arginine residue to a citrulline residue) play in the breaking of immune tolerance and generate Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) which is characterized by joint destruction and subsequent bone loss.  Included in these studies is the investigation into the role that P. gingivalis,  a bacteria known to be a cause of periodontal disease (PD) and is strongly associated with RA, plays in alveolar and bone loss in joints; 2) The effects of chronic alcohol consumption on bone fracture healing; 3) Implant loosening; and, 4) Altered osteoclast and osteoblast function during immune processes.  The ultimate goal of all of these studies are to develop treatment and interventions to inhibit the inflammation and increase tissue and bone repair.

 Geoffrey M. Thiele, Ph.D.
Dong Wang, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, College of Pharmacy - Pharmaceutical Science

Dr. Dong Wang’s laboratory mainly focuses on therapeutic intervention for musculoskeletal diseases. Specifically, his lab have developed a variety of nanomedicine formulations for the improved treatment of inflammatory arthritis, orthopedic implant loosening, impaired fracture healing and periodontal bony defects, etc. These nanomedicine formulations were developed according to a novel passive targeting mechanism termed as ELVIS. In essence, the targeting and accumulation of these colloids at the inflammation associated with these diseases can be attributed to the local vasculature leakage and intensified inflammatory cells mediated phagocytosis. Subsequently, the drug-containing nanomedicine resides within the lysosomal compartment of the hosting cells and gradually release the drug to modulate the inflammation and to stimulate the local tissue repair and regeneration.

Dong Wang, PhD