Welcome to the Cooper Lab!
Molecular Basis of Bone Matrix Phenotypes
Bone cells coordinate the deposition and erosion of the matrix of bone and depending on their relative activity levels, bone may be flexible or stiff, dense or lightweight. Our research focuses on the matrix of bat wing bones as it is flexible and resistant to fracture. Whales have bones that are lightweight compared to land mammals. Little is known of how the matrix of bone changes with age in bats and whales, or the molecular events driving its composition throughout their long lifespans.
Consequences of Aging in the Skeleton
Although bone fragility is considered normal in elderly humans and other terrestrial mammals, we don’t know if elderly bats and whales also share the same pathology. Our research program uses known-age animals to understand the molecular mechanisms associated with the aging process of their skeletons.
Evolutionary Origins and Variances of Bone Phenotypes
In departing from life on land, both bats and whales evolved novel bone compositions and function. Our research tracks the molecular basis of bone composition in living bats and whales and then tracks their evolutionary history through the fossil record.