The University of Michigan School of Dentistry
As we age, our quality of life critically depends on the skeletal and craniofacial bones, in both health and disease. The skeleton is not only of immense clinical importance, notably in the weakening of bones seen in osteoporosis, but also is a model for studying communication across organs, as bone cells help to coordinate many aspects of organismal homeostasis, including mineral metabolism, disruption of which can have major consequences for health. Research in the Surface Lab pursues addresses both aspects of bone health in aging and disease.
Our investigations focus on two main directions, united by similar methodologies of leveraging genome-wide approaches followed by molecular and organismal investigations, to understand the molecular responses of bone cells. The first direction focuses on the molecular mechanisms of bisphosphonates, commonly used drugs to treat osteoporosis. The second seeks to identity how cells in bone sense and respond to changes in serum phosphate concentration, with this response being key in the endocrine control of serum phosphate levels.
Dr. Lauren Surface is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biologic and Materials Sciences and Prosthodontics at the University of Michigan. Dr. Surface received her bachelor’s of science degree in neurobiology from the University of Washington. She received her Ph.D. in biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studying the role of chromatin in embryonic stem cell lineage commitment. Her postdoctoral research was done at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital, where her work utilized genome-wide association to understand the response of osteogenic cells to drugs and mineral ions. She is the recipient of the NIH/NIAMS K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Grant, and is a UM Biological Sciences Scholar.
She attended University of Washington for undergrad, performing research on yeast peroxisomes and fly brains. She then received her Ph.D. in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studying the role of chromatin in embryonic stem cell lineage commitment. Her postdoctoral research was done at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital, setting the stage for opening her lab at the University of Michigan.
Recruiting! Curious, enthusiastic, and kind researchers welcome!