The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development division of the NIH has awarded $459,000 to Prof. Thomas Lufkin, the Bayard and Virginia Clarkson Endowed Chair in Biology for a research project entitled "Genome-Wide Analysis of The Transcriptional Cooperation Between Runx2 And Runx3 During Skeletal Development".
Prof. Lufkin has been studying the genes controlling skeletal formation and development for over 25 years. His long-term focus has been on what is referred to as "Master" regulatory genes which control the size, shape and number of bones and cartilages in the human body. Prof. Lufkin is currently focusing much of his laboratories’ research on the intervertebral discs of the spine, which give the spine flexibility, but which can be prone to fail during trauma or advanced aging, resulting in severe and chronic low back pain.
Future research directions are focused on repairing injured spinal discs through regenerative medicine-based strategies. Prof. Lufkin's work on skeleton development has been supported in the USA by the NIH, NSF, ACS, March of Dimes as well as by other agencies abroad.