Distinguished Professor Mitchell B. Schaffler, chair and Wallace H. Coulter Professor of Biomedical Engineering at The City College of New York’s Grove School of Engineering, is awarded a five-year, $3.2 million grant from the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, which is part of the National Institutes of Health.
Schaffler is researching the biomechanical and molecular mechanisms by which skeletal tissue, such as bones, grows strong or decays as people grow older. This new grant will fund his research into determining how changes in osteocytes—the cells that reside inside bones—contribute to the development of osteoporosis and bone fragility.
Osteoporosis and resulting bone fragility are a major public health threat affecting more that 40 million people in the United States. Schaffler’s work will build on recent discoveries by his team of researchers who found that osteocytes possess a specialized complex of proteins and membrane channels that act as mechanical sensors. With age or hormone-level shifts – such as estrogen loss by women during menopause – these sensors deteriorate.
“Bones are like muscles; you either use it or lose it,” said Schaffler. “The cells in your bones act as mechanical sensors and grow strong due to physical activity, exercise, etc. But as you age, the cells eventually grow deaf as it were, so that they no longer respond appropriately and that can lead to bone fragility.”
The Grove School of Engineering, named for alumnus Andrew S. Grove ’60, was established in 1919 as The City College School of Technology and currently houses 115 full-time faculty doing cutting-edge research in fields ranging from energy and sustainability, nanotechnology, materials engineering to transportation and remote sensing. Celebrating its 100-year anniversary, Grove School graduates continue to flourish receiving prestigious awards from the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and the Goldwater Scholars foundation just to name a few. Visit the Grove School website here.
About The City College of New York
Since 1847, The City College of New York has provided a high quality and affordable education to generations of New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. Today The Chronicle of Higher Education ranks CCNY #2 among public colleges with the greatest success in ensuring the social mobility of our student body; at the same time the Center for world University Rankings places it in the top 1.2% of universities worldwide in terms of academic excellence. More than 16,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in eight professional schools and divisions, driven by significant funded research, creativity and scholarship. CCNY is as diverse, dynamic and visionary as New York City itself. View CCNY Media Kit.