Cell culture is a major tool in cellular and molecular biology, one that allows the growth and maintenance of cells under controlled conditions in a way that is conducive to experimental manipulation. Cell culture allows the researcher to study the function of cells, as well as the effects of drugs and toxic compounds on cellular function, or the cellular changes that accompany mutagenesis and carcinogenesis. The mission of the Cell Culture Laboratory is to address fundamental questions about cellular physiology and biochemistry by using cell culture models for health and disease states.
One such question is about the role of specific ion channels in the differentiation and function of osteoclasts. Osteoclasts are cells that break down bone as part of the normal bone remodeling process. Using a cell culture model and a variety of molecular and imaging techniques, the goal of research in this area is to determine the role of the calcium-activated potassium channels in the differentiation of macrophages to osteoclasts. Insight into this process may allow the development of therapeutic inhibitors of osteoclast activity for the treatment of degenerative bone disease.
Previous research in the Cell Culture Laboratory has included investigating the roles of the carbonic anhydrase isozymes in homeostasis and metabolism; investigating the effects of lycopene (a plant carotenoid found in high concentrations in tomatoes) on prostate cancer cells; and examining the effects of androgens on adipocyte lipid storage and function.
For more information about a specific research group, please visit the CCL Projects page or contact the appropriate faculty member listed on the CCL Staff and Contact page.