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The goal of the Laboratory of Pediatric Endocrinology led by Maria Vogiatzi is the study of animal models of diseases which affect bone development and accrual. We want to determine the mechanisms by which environmental factors as well as chronic disease states may impact on the development of abnormal bone mass in children and adolescents. During childhood and adolescence, bone is deposited so that the skeleton grows in both size and density to reach a peak bone mass in early adulthood. Suboptimal peak bone mass may lead to osteoporosis and lifelong increased risk for fractures.
One focus of our research is to understand the mechanisms by which hematological conditions, such as thalassemia, lead to the development of low bone mass. Research efforts at the moment focus on elucidating the molecular mechanism that regulate bone turnover during ineffective erythropoiesis and the development of novel therapies to treat low bone mass in these disorders.
In addition, the division of Pediatric Endocrinology has developed successful collaborations with many laboratories of Weill Cornell and tri-institutional campus. In the area of insulin resistance, we collaborate with Timothy Mc Graw, PhD, Professor of Biochemistry in studies of insulin signaling and glucose trafficking. Adele Boskey, PhD, Professor at the Hospital for Special surgery has mentored fellows in projects that examine the efficacy of novel therapies for osteogenesis imperfecta. Research collaborators in the area of endocrinopathies related to iron overload include Robert W Grady, PhD and Patricia J Giardina, MD.
Studies on obesity/insulin resistance: Our studies at the moment include community school-based research programs that focus on nutritional counseling and lifestyle modification. Our faculty wants to determine changes on the cardiovascular profile of participating children, and therefore, determine the benefits derived from these interventions.
Protocol Title: The Effect of an After-School Free Dance Program and Lifestyle Counseling in Children on Reducing Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes.
Metabolic Bone studies: These studies examine the relationship of vitamin D concentrations with bone turnover in pediatrics. Additional studies focus on the role of vitamin D as a modifier of insulin sensitivity in obesity. Finally, we are also interested in determining the factors that lead to increased fracture risk in pediatric populations.
Our research has been funded by federal (NIH) grants and several of our faculty and fellows have received awards for their work.