Photo of Ivo  Kalajzic, M.D., Ph.D.

Ivo Kalajzic, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Reconstructive Sciences
Center for Regenerative Medicine and Skeletal Development
Associate Professor, Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences
Academic Office Location:
Reconstructive Sciences
UConn Health
263 Farmington Avenue
Farmington, CT 06030-3705
Phone: 860-679-6051
Fax: 860-679-2910

Skeletal Biology and Regeneration Graduate Program

M.D.Zagreb University School of MedicineMedicine
Ph.D.Split University School of MedicineBasic Medical Sciences - Genetics

Name of Award/HonorAwarding Organization
Career Enhancement AwardAmerican Society of Bone and Mineral Research
Harold Frost Young Investigator AwardAmerican Society of Bone and Mineral Research
Young Investigator Award, Annual MeetingAmerican Society of Bone and Mineral Research
Fellowship AwardChildren Brittle Bone Foundation
John Haddad Young Investigator AwardAmerican Society of Bone and Mineral Research
Outstanding Presentation Award, Washington, DCEast Coast Connective Tissue Society Meeting
Michael Geisman Fellowship Award Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation
Name & DescriptionCategoryRoleTypeScopeStart YearEnd Year
Orthopedic Research SocietyProfessional/Scientific OrganizationMemberExternalNational2012
American Society of Bone and Mineral ResearchProfessional/Scientific OrganizationMemberExternalNational2006
International Chinese Hard Tissue SocietyProfessional/Scientific OrganizationMemberExternalInternational2006

Defining and evaluating function of the osteocyte restricted genes Osteocytes are terminally differentiated cells of the osteoblast lineage. It is well known that bone tissue has the capacity to alter its mass and structure in response to mechanical strain using osteocytes as mechanosensory cells. Identification of genes involved in these processes requires isolation of a pure population of osteocytes and a comparison to the gene expression profile to cells at other maturation stages of the osteoblast lineage. In this project we aim to evaluate the gene expression profile of an isolated osteocyte population and contrast its gene expression to osteoblasts as they transition into the osteocyte stage. The analysis of their gene expression profile provides important information for a better understanding of the mechanisms that regulate bone mass.

Myofibroblast/pericyte as an mesenchymal progenitor cell Adult mesenchymal progenitor cells have enormous potential for use in reparative medicine. The easy access and isolation of bone marrow aspirate or liposuction collection have made these cells a prime target for studies of differentiation into various adult mesenchymal tissues for regenerative medicine purposes. To define a population of myofibroblasts/pericyte we are utilizing previously developed transgenic mice in which this cell type is identified by a smooth muscle ?-actin promoter GFP transgene expression (?SMAGFP). To define the differentiation ability of these cells, we are using osteoblast/adipocyte/chondrocyte specific promoters driving GFP that we have previously characterized. These transgenes activate at mature stages of the lineage differentiation and by combining complementary colors, we can test for the ability of isolated ?SMA+ cells to progress from a progenitor to fully mature bone, fat or cartilage.

Regenerative potential of periodontal progenitor cells The process of tissue regeneration in craniofacial bone requires the identification of optimal progenitor cells, and the evaluation of their potential in clear models of new bone formation. The periodontal ligament (PDL) contains a progenitor population that can differentiate into osteoblasts, cementoblasts and a mature periodontal ligament cells. PDL cells are easily accessible at the time of tooth extraction, and following expansion and long-term storage; they could be used for bone regeneration or enhancement of bone in preparation for placement of dental implants. Any broad clinical utility requires exploring this source of progenitor cells, their true identity and definition of their progeny. Obstacles to these goals are the inability to identify and purify the progenitor cells from PDL, and the lack of the in vivo markers that can be used to confirm that progenitor cells can attain the state and functionality of terminally differentiated phenotypes. In addition an extensive comparison of osteogenic capacity between the mesenchymal progenitor cells derived from PDL or from adult bone marrow and adipose derived stromal cells has to be completed.

Not accepting lab rotation students at this time

Journal Articles

Conference Papers