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Julianne Glowacki, PhD
Senior Scientist, Brigham and Women's Hospital
Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, Harvard Medical School

Brigham and Women's Hospital
Department of Orthopedic Surgery
75 Francis Street
Boston, MA 02115

Research Location: Medical Research Building

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Research Narrative:
            Julie Glowacki received her Ph.D. from Harvard University in Biological Chemistry. Her post-doctoral fellowships were at the Endocrine Unit of the Massachusetts General Hospital and in the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital. After her training, she established the Children’s Hospital Plastic Surgery Research Laboratory and Demineralized Bone Bank. Much of her research concerns regulation of human skeletal cell differentiation. Over the years, she developed a number of animal models for evaluation of bone substitute materials, including rat non-healing calvarial and mandibular defects, rat healing tibial osseous wounds, rat onlays, rabbit osteoarticular defects, and sheep synostoses. She has published extensively on comparative mineral and skeletal metabolism in fishes and sharks. She is an internationally recognized researcher, especially for translation of basic research on osteoinduction to clinical applications in plastic, oromaxillofacial, and orthopedic uses of demineralized bone.  These efforts led to changes in clinical practice for congenital and acquired skeletal deformities, cysts and fractures of long bones, osseous defects in hands, and other oral and periodontal lesions.
            She has served on many NIH, NASA, Department of Defense, international, and foundation grant review panels. She has been a voting member of the US FDA Dental Products Panel and led their initiative on bone substitute materials. She received the 2001 Hyatt Award from the American Association of Tissue Banks for her contributions in the science and technology of allogeneic banked bone. She received the 2005 Hohl Award from the American Association for Bone and Mineral Research for her service as co-founder and first chair of that organization's Ethics Advisory Committee.  In 2008, she was presented with a Mentor Recognition Award from the American Medical Association.

            Currently, Dr. Glowacki is Director of the Skeletal Biology Program in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She is Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. She has published more than 130 original research articles concerning basic research of skeletal cell differentiation, comparative skeletal metabolism, mechanisms of skeletal repair; as well as clinical research in congenital and post-traumatic reconstructive and orthopedic surgery, the roles of vitamin D-deficiency in fragility fractures, osteoporosis risk in osteoarthritic women, and fracture pathways. She has published a series of informative reports using marrow that is discarded during orthopedic surgery. That work shows an age-related increase in osteoclast potential and constitutive production of osteolytic factors and an age-related decrease in osteoblast potential in human marrow. Recent evidence shows age-related effects on intracellular signaling in response of osteoactive agents. Her current efforts seek to reveal the mechanisms of those age-related changes and to investigate ways to rejuvenate the aging skeleton. Recent clinical studies with multidisciplinary colleagues show the disturbing prevalence of vitamin D-deficiency in hip fracture patients and the surprising prevalence of osteoporosis in women with advanced osteoarthritis. In addition, she has worked with her clinical colleagues at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital to develop and evaluate hip fracture pathways so that the orthopedist initiates referral for the evaluation of osteoporosis risks. Her research has been funded by the NIH, the Department of Defense, NOAA, and various foundations. She holds 8 patents on aspects of skeletal tissue engineering.  She has written more than 30 chapters and review articles, co-edited The Aging Skeleton, and coauthored the monograph entitled Biologic Foundations for Skeletal Tissue Engineering. Her current research interests concern mechanisms of human skeletal aging and innovative approaches to bone and joint repair and reconstruction, including distraction osteogenesis and tissue engineering. She has mentored more than 50 students and fellows in her laboratory. She has been involved in orthopedic resident selection, research, and teaching. Other teaching activities include more than 100 invitations to speak nationally and internationally and participation as faculty for 25 continuing education courses. She has been an expert witness in numerous patent infringement lawsuits.

Investigative Interests

Skeletal Aging, Vitamin D, Stem Cells, Reconstruction, Skeletal Pathology, Tissue Engineering 

Harvard University, 1973, PhD

Non-decalcified bone histology

Publications (Pulled from Harvard Catalyst Profiles):

1. Gao Y, Zhou S, Luu S, Glowacki J. Megalin mediates 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 actions in human mesenchymal stem cells. FASEB J. 2019 Jun; 33(6):7684-7693.

2. Bellare A, Epperly MW, Greenberger JS, Fisher R, Glowacki J. Development of tensile strength methodology for murine skin wound healing. MethodsX. 2018; 5:337-344.

3. Zhou S, Glowacki J. Dehydroepiandrosterone and Bone. Vitam Horm. 2018; 108:251-271.

4. Madsen SD, Russell KC, Tucker HA, Glowacki J, Bunnell BA, O'Connor KC. Decoy TRAIL receptor CD264: a cell surface marker of cellular aging for human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells. Stem Cell Res Ther. 2017 09 29; 8(1):201.

5. Zhou S, Glowacki J. Chronic kidney disease and vitamin D metabolism in human bone marrow-derived MSCs. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2017 08; 1402(1):43-55.

6. Li J, Padwa BL, Zhou S, Mullokandova J, LeBoff MS, Glowacki J. Synergistic effect of 1a,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 and 17ß-estradiol on osteoblast differentiation of pediatric MSCs. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2018 03; 177:103-108.

7. Strong AL, Jones RB, Glowacki J, Boue SM, Burow ME, Bunnell BA. Glycinol enhances osteogenic differentiation and attenuates the effects of age on mesenchymal stem cells. Regen Med. 2017 07; 12(5):513-524.

8. Guo W, Pencina KM, O'Connell K, Montano M, Peng L, Westmoreland S, Glowacki J, Bhasin S. Administration of an activin receptor IIB ligand trap protects male juvenile rhesus macaques from simian immunodeficiency virus-associated bone loss. Bone. 2017 04; 97:209-215.

9. Liang X, Glowacki J, Hahne J, Xie L, LeBoff MS, Zhou S. Dehydroepiandrosterone Stimulation of Osteoblastogenesis in Human MSCs Requires IGF-I Signaling. J Cell Biochem. 2016 08; 117(8):1769-74.

10. Glowacki J. Demineralized Bone and BMPs: Basic Science and Clinical Utility. J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2015 Dec; 73(12 Suppl):S126-31.