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The Cell Biology section focuses on changes in chondrocyte behavior associated with cartilage degeneration in osteoarthritis. Studies have included the generation of stable chondrocyte cell lines expressing Cas9. These cells provide a simple approach to rapidly modify any gene in chondrocytes using guideRNA transfection and CRISPR/Cas9 technology. Our current focus aims at understanding the regulation of chondrocyte differentiation and the maintenance of the chondrocyte phenotype.
Studies are also underway using CRISPR/Cas9 technology to identify genes that are essential for the survival of chondrocytes in chondrosarcomas, the second most common primary bone tumor. Identification of drugable genes essential for chondrosarcoma survival will provide the prospect of identifying rational new drugs to specifically target chondrosarcomas.
We have also investigated the role of microRNAs in maintaining cartilage integrity
and the capacity of levels of non-