Professor Jillian Cornish leads the Cell and Molecular Biology Bone Research Group in the School of Medicine, University of Auckland. Her team is investigating the actions of novel hormones and growth factors on bone, and has in place a set of in vitro and in vivo models to make a comprehensive assessment of novel bone-active factors. Osteoporosis is always ‘top-of-mind’, and the quest to find factors that are anabolic to bone growth [i.e. encourage bone growth] constitutes a significant challenge in the treatment of this condition. In this regard, its focus is on the mechanism of action of a number of peptides and lipids that are anabolic to bone and for which it holds international patents. In addition, Dr Cornish’s team has enabled a regenerative medicine programme to be instigated within New Zealand working closely with material, mechanical and bio-engineers supported by grants from the MedTech CoRE, MBIE, HRC, EU-IRSES, RSNZ and University of Auckland. This EU-IRSES consortium has enabled international collaboration with 9 academic institutions in the regenerative medicine field.
Dr David Musson is a recent AMRF [Auckland Medical Research Foundation] fellowship awardee whose main focus is developing and applying an evaluation package to determine the cytocompatability of materials to act as a scaffold for tendon and/or bone regeneration. Further to this, his work involves identifying novel anabolic factors that can be incorporated into scaffolds and applied to damaged musculoskeletal tissues to aid regeneration, in particular non-union bone fractures and ‘difficult-to-heal’ torn rotator cuff tendon injuries.