BBS Faculty Member - Bjorn Olsen

Bjorn Olsen

Department of Developmental Biology

Harvard School of Dental Medicine
Developmental Biology REB 409B
188 Longwood Ave
Boston, MA 02115
Tel: 617-432-1874
Fax: 617-432-0638
Lab Members: 10 postdoctoral fellows, 1 graduate student

Research Activities

My laboratory studies skeletal and vascular development, growth and remodeling/repair. Work is currently directed at three projects.

In the first project we investigate mechanisms that control the development and homeostasis of the vertebrate skeleton, using a combination of human and mouse genetics and studies of cells in culture. We are particularly interested in elucidating the pathogenetic mechanisms by which specific mutations affect skeletal growth and repair/regeneration in human diseases.

In a second project we study the mechanism by which vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF) regulates mesenchymal stem cell differentiation into osteoblasts and adipocytes.

In the third project we study causes of degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis) in humans and mice. One approach has involved identification of mutations responsible for early-onset osteoarthritis as part of inherited osteochondrodysplasias and cellular/molecular analyses of pathogenetic mechanisms. Recently, we are also investigating strategies aimed at reducing the progression of osteoarthritis.

Last Update: 8/6/2015


For a complete listing of publications click here.



Ueki, Y, Lin, C-Y, Senoo, M, Ebihara, T, Agata, N, Onji, M, Saheki, Y, Kawai, T, Mukherjee, PM, Reichenberger, E, Olsen, BR. Increased myeloid cell responses to M-CSF and RANKL cause bone loss and inflammation in Sh3bp2 “cherubism” mice. Cell, 2007, 128:71-83.

Medici, D, Shore, EM, Lounev, VY, Kaplan, FS, Kalluri, R, Olsen, BR. Conversion of vascular endothelial cells into multipotent stem-like cells. Nat Med 2010, 16: 1400-1406.

Liu, Y, Berendsen, A, Jia, S, Lotinun, S, Baron, R, Ferrara, N, Olsen, BR. Intracellular VEGF regulates the balance between osteoblast and adipocyte differentiation. J Clin Invest, 2012; 122:3101-3112.

Besschetnova, TY, Ichimura, T, Katebi, N, St. Croix, B, Bonventre, JV, Olsen, BR. Regulatory mechanisms of anthrax toxin receptor 1 – dependent vascular and connective tissue homeostasis. Matrix Biol. 2015, 42:56-73.

Duan, X, Murata, Y, Liu, Y, Nicolae, C, Olsen, BR, Berendsen, AD. VEGF regulates perichondrial vascularity and osteoblast differentiation in bone development. Development, 2015, 142:1984-1991.

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