Photo of M. Hicham Drissi, Ph.D.

M. Hicham Drissi, Ph.D.

Professor of Orthopedics
Academic Office Location:
Orthopedic Surgery
UConn Health
263 Farmington Avenue
Farmington, CT 06030
Phone: 860-679-6698
Fax: 860-679-2109

Skeletal Biology and Regeneration Graduate Program

B.S.University of Paris VCell Biology
M.S.University of Paris VCell Biology
Ph.D.University of Paris XIIICellular & Molecular Biology

Post-Graduate Training
PostdoctoralCell Biology Department at UMASS Medical Schoo lPostdoctoral fellowship in Growth control and differentiation of the osteoblastic lineage

Name of Award/HonorAwarding Organization
Young Investigator FellowshipOrthopaedic Research Society
Young Investigator Award Advances in Mineral Metabolism Society
American Society for Bone and Mineral Research Travel Award, 21st Annual Meeting, St. Louis, MO. American Society for Bone and Mineral Research
Name & DescriptionCategoryRoleTypeScopeStart YearEnd Year
US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC), FY12 Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program, Osteoporosis & Related Bone DiseaseStudy SectionGrant ReviewerExternalNational20122012
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC); United KingdomsStudy SectionGrant ReviewerExternalInternational20122012
Topic Chair for the Orthopaedic Research Society MeetingAdvisory CommitteeTopic ChairUConn HealthUniversity20112015
US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC), FY11 Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program, Osteoporosis & Related Bone DiseaseStudy SectionGrant ReviewerExternalNational20112011
Arthritis Foundation Professional/Scientific OrganizationReview Panel MemberExternalNational2010
Institutional Research Strategic Planning of the New England Musculoskeletal InstituteeAdvisory CommitteeMemberUConn HealthUniversity2010
Journal of Cellular BiochemistryEditorial BoardAssociate EditorExternalNational2010
Reviewer for The National Foundation for Science, Higher Education and Technological Development of the Republic of CroatiaStudy SectionGrant ReviewerExternalInternational20102010
Reviewer for the Australian National Health and Medical Research CouncilStudy SectionGrant ReviewerExternalInternational20102010
NIDCR special Emphasis Panel Review of RFA DE-09-001 and RFA DE-09-002 Advisory CommitteeReview Panel MemberExternalNational2009
Recruitment Committee for Research Faculty in the Department of Orthopaedics, New England Musculoskeletal InstituteAdvisory CommitteeChairUConn HealthUniversity2009
Journal of Bone and Mineral ResearchEditorial BoardMemberExternalNational2009
Annual New England Musculoskeletal Research DayProfessional/Scientific OrganizationOrganizerExternalRegional2009
The National Science Foundation (NSF) Professional/Scientific OrganizationReview Panel MemberExternalNational2008
Orthopaedic Residency Research Project CommitteesAdvisory CommitteeMemberUConn HealthUniversity2008
Orthopaedic Research Symposium: Wnt signaling in skeletal development and diseases. 54th annual meeting of the Orthopaedic Research Society (San Francisco, CA)OtherCo-Organizer ExternalNational20082008
The United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation Professional/Scientific OrganizationReview Panel MemberExternalInternational2007
The Wellcome Trust (UK) Advisory CommitteeReview Panel MemberExternalNational2007
Instituto Pasteur-Fondazione Cenci Bolognetti (Italy) Professional/Scientific OrganizationReview Panel MemberExternalNational2006
ASBMR Membership Development CommitteeAdvisory CommitteeMemberExternalNational20062009
Wiener Wissenshafts-, Forshungs- Technologiefonds (Austria)Study SectionGrant ReviewerExternalInternational20052005
Wiener Wissenshafts-, Forshungs- Technologiefonds (Austria)Study SectionGrant ReviewerExternalInternational20052005
American Society for Bone and Mineral Research abstract committeeProfessional/Scientific OrganizationAd Hoc ReviewerExternalNational2004
Orthopaedic Research Society Abstract CommitteeProfessional/Scientific OrganizationAd Hoc ReviewerExternalNational2004
New York Academy of SciencesProfessional/Scientific OrganizationMemberExternalState
Orthopedic Research SocietyProfessional/Scientific OrganizationMemberExternalNational
Advances In Mineral Metabolism SocietyProfessional/Scientific OrganizationMemberExternalNational
FASEB SocietyProfessional/Scientific OrganizationMemberExternalNational
American Society for Bone and Mineral ResearchProfessional/Scientific OrganizationMemberExternalNational
Molecular and Cellular BiologyProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational
Journal of Cellular BiochemistryProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational
Journal of Cellular PhysiologyProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational
Journal of Bone and Mineral ResearchProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational
GeneProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational
PLOSProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational
Osteoarthritis and CartilageProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational
Journal of Biological ChemistryProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational
Experimental Cell ResearchProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational
Cancer ResearchProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational
Molecular EndocrinologyProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational
CORRProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational
OncogeneProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational
Arthritis Research and TherapyProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational

The areas of research in my laboratory relate to defining the cellular and molecular pathways that govern skeletal tissue development and repair. We aim to understand the mechanisms underlying endochondral ossification and skeletal tissue repair and regeneration. Specifically, we investigate growth control and differentiation of mesenchymal progenitor cell populations into chondrocytes and osteoblasts. Our areas of interest provide direct translational applications to orthopedic problems ranging from osteoarthritis to skeletal dysplasia and fracture healing.

Research Interests
One of our objectives is to determine the molecular mechanisms involved in fracture repair using animal models. Particularly, we are investigating the role of the Runx family of transcription factors in mediating cartilage development and repair. We had initially established Runx1/AML1 was an early mediator of mesenchymal cell commitment towards chondrogenesis while Runx2 controls hypertrophy and cartilage mineralization. Runx3 appears to affect both early and late stages of chondrocyte maturation. We are now using various genetic mouse models to examine the individual versus combined roles of Runx proteins in various stages of fracture healing.

The purpose of our second program is to identify novel molecular signals involved in chondrodysplasia and/or osteoarthritis. Our objective is to identify the molecular switches that control the transition from immature to mature chondrocytes in response to factors that play differential roles in this process. Specifically, we are focusing on stage-specific cooperative versus antagonistic effects of canonical and non-canonical Wnts, and TGF-beta superfamilly on cartilage development. We are using genetic mouse models and surgery induced osteoarthritis models to verify the relevance of components of these pathways to cartilage degenerative diseases.

Accepting students for Lab Rotations:  Fall '16

For detailed laboratory rotation information please contact Dr. Drissi directly.

Journal Articles

Book Chapters

  • Cell and molecular biology in orthopaedics
    Zuscik MJ, Drissi H, Reynolds PR, Rosier RN Biology and Biomechanics of the Musculoskeletal System 2004 Jan;
  • Regulation of chondrocyte differentiation
    Ionescu AM, Drissi MH, O’Keefe RJ The Skeleton: Biochemical, Genetic and Molecular Interactions in Development and Homeostasis 2003 Jan;


  • PTH induces COX-2 in MC3T3-E1 osteoblasts via cAMP-PKA and caclcium-calcineurin pathways.
    Huang H, Chikazu D, Voznesensky O, Doge-Kafka K, Drissi H, Pilbeam C. J Bone Miner Res 2008 Jan;23S140

Conference Papers

  • Bcl-2 family regulation of apoptosis in association with mineralization of the osteoblast extracellular matrix: influence of glucocorticoids
    Jaskelioff M, Drissi H, Buffone E, Stein JL, Stein GS, Lian JB 1999 Jan;239-242


Title or AbstractTypeSponsor/EventDate/YearLocation
The effect of cathepsin K inhibitor on murine bone fracture repairTalk58th Annual Orthopaedic Research Society Meeting2012San Francisco, CA
Twist1 is differentially regulated in normal and osteoarthritic articular cartilageTalk58th Annual Orthopaedic Research Society Meeting2012San Francisco, CA
Runx1-mediated control of Skeletal development and fracture healingTalkMerck pharmaceuticals2011WestPoint, PA
Wnt5a Stage-Dependently Control Chondrocyte Maturation through Differential Activation of the CaMK/NFAT and NF-kB PathwaysTalk56th Annual Orthopaedic Research Society Meeting2010New Orleans, CA
How to give an outstanding podium presentationTalk56th annual Orthopaedic Research Society Meeting2010New Orleans, LA
Role of Twist1 during cartilage developmentTalk55th Annual Orthopaedic Research Society Meeting2009Las Vegas, NV
Transcriptional control of chondrogenesis and chondrocyte maturation: Crosstalk between TGF and Wnt signalsTalkUniversity of Massachusetts Medical SchoolationngScience2009Worcester, MA
Molecular Pathways of Skeletal RepairTalkHospital for Special Surgery2009New York, NY
Molecular Mechanisms of Bone RepairTalkTufts University2008Boston, MA
Transcriptional control of chondrogenesis and chondrocyte maturation: Crosstalk between TGF and Wnt signalsTalkUniversity of Texas at San Antonio2008San Antonio, TX
Transcriptional control during bone repairTalkMayo Clinic Department of Orthopaedics2008Rochester, MN
Transcriptional control of mesenchymal cell differentiation during skeletal repairTalkMayo Clinic Biochemistry Department2008Rochester, MN
Osterix Regulation During Endochondral Ossification: Contribution to ChondrogenesisTalk53rd Annual Orthopaedic Research Society Meeting2007San Diego, CA
Osterix regulation of mesenchymal cell differentiation during fracture repairTalkMaine Medical Center Research Institute2007Scarborough, ME
Cell cycle proteins cyclinD1-Cdk4 regulate Runx2 phosphorylation ubiquitination and proteasome degradationTalkASBMR 28th Annual Meeting2006Philadelphia, PA
Anti-catabolic therapy exacerbates osteomyelitis without altering humoral immunityTalkASBMR 28th Annual Meeting2006Philadelphia, PA
Chondrocytes regulate osteoclastogenesis by producing RANKL in response to BMP-2TalkASBMR 28th Annual Meeting2006Philadelphia, PA
Runx3/AML2/Cbfa3 mediates chondrocyte differentiation52nd Annual Meeting, Orthopaedic Research Society2006Chicago, IL
Transcriptional regulation of chondrocyte maturationTalkBrown University2006Providence, RI
Dlx2 stimulates the murine chondrocyte maturation in vitro and in vivoTalkASBMR 27th Annual Meeting2005Nashville, TN
Beta-catenin promotes growth plate chondrocyte differentiation and maturationTalkASBMR 27th Annual Meeting2005Nashville, TN
Canonical Wnt signaling mediates chondrocyte hypertrophynthrough the Runx2 transcription factorTalkASBMR 27th Annual Meeting2005Nashville, TN
Long wavelength ultraviolet light Facilitates Efficient recombinant AAV transduction in human articular chondocytes In the Absence of Cytotoxic or Mutagenic effectsTalk51st Annual Meeting, Orthopaedic Research Society2005Washington, DC
Runx1 (Cbfa2) mediates onset of mesenchymal cell differentiation towards chondrogenesisTalk52nd Annual Meeting, Orthopaedic Research Society2005Washington, DC
Runx mediated regulation of chondrocyte maturationTalkEmory University2005Atlanta, GA
Runx regulation of chondrogenesisTalkThomas Jefferson University2005Philadelphia, PA
Runx-mediated regulation of chondrogenesisTalkWashington University2005St. Louis, MO
Runx regulation of cartilage formationTalkTemple University2005Philadelphia, PA
The Runt Homology Factor Runx1/Cbfa2 Contributes to Chondrocyte MaturationTalk51th Annual Meeting, Orthopaedic Research Society2004San Francisco, CA
TGF-beta Inhibits Wnt Signaling-mediated Chondrocyte DifferentiationTalk51th Annual Meeting, Orthopaedic Research Society2004San Francisco, CA
Smad3 deficient chondrocyte have accelerated differentiation and enhanced BMP signalingTalkASBMR 26th annual Meeting2004Seattle, WA
Cartilage specific overexpression of Smurf2 induces an osteoarthritic phenotype in miceTalkASBMR 26th Annual Meeting2004Seattle, WA
Anti TNF-a therapyTalkUniversity of Rochester, Office of Continuing Education2004Rochester, NY
Smurf2-mediated loss of TGF-beta signaling stimulates Articular chondrocyte maturationTalkASBMR 25th Annual Meeting2003Minneapolis, MN
Transcriptional regulation of chondrocyte maturationTalkCarl T. Brighton Annual Workshop on Osteoarthritis2003Tampa Bay, FL
Transcriptional regulation of the bone related transcription factor Runx2/Cbfa1TalkTemple University2001Philadelphia, PA