Florent Elefteriou, Ph.D.
Claude-Bernard University, France, 2000
Director, Vanderbilt Center for Bone Biology
Associate Professor, Medicine, Pharmacology and Cancer Biology
Phone: (615) 322-7975
Fax: (615) 343-2611
The two main areas of research in our laboratory are 1) the role of the central and peripheral sympathetic nervous system on bone remodeling and cancer metastasis and 2) the role of the RAS-GAP neurofibromin neurofibromin in skeleton development, growth, remodeling and repair.
The skeleton is an organ that is richly supplied with blood vessels but also nerves. These nerves can be sensory (hence the pain when you hurt your bones) but also sympathetic. The latter type regulates body involuntary functions such as heart rate or breathing. Several studies within the last 10 years revealed the role of these nerves in regulating the process that maintains the skeleton in an optimal state in adulthood, i.e. bone remodeling. Our efforts now focus in identifying the pathophysiological relevance of these findings, using genetic and pharmacologic approaches.
The second main interest of the laboratory relates to a condition called neurofibromatosis type I (NF1). Some patients with NF1 exhibit skeletal abnormalities, some of which can be associated with high morbidity and burden to the patient and family. Tibia bowing, fracture non-union and dystrophic scoliosis are the most problematic skeletal conditions and no satisfactory treatment is available. We use our expertise in bone physiology and bone cell biology to understand the etiology of these skeletal conditions and to propose pre-clinical mouse models as well as targeted therapeutic approaches aiming at preventing or curing such conditions.