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Laura R. McCabe

Laura R. McCabeProfessor, Physiology and Radiology


Research Interests:
Low bone density affects more than 40 million people and is a risk factor for osteoporotic bone breaks.  In fact, 1 out of 2 women over the age of 50 and 1 out of 5 men will have an osteoporotic fracture in their lifetime.  Bone breaks can lead to complications, loss of independence, required use of a cane or walker, depression and mortality.  Despite there being many medications available, many patients are unwilling to take them due to fear of side-effects.  Our lab is studying mechanisms of bone loss associated with type 1 diabetes, glucocorticoid use, estrogen-deficiency and inflammatory bowel disease.  All of these conditions have a common link: dysbiosis (an imbalance of the gut microbiota).  Our lab has shown that intestinal inflammation causes bone loss and we have demonstrated that probiotics (bacteria beneficial to health) can increase bone density in healthy male mice and prevent bone loss in many conditions.  This has led us to focus on the gut as a therapeutic target to treat osteoporosis.  Using a variety of mouse and bacteria models we are working to understand how bacteria in the gut can regulate bone health.  We are also studying the impact of changes to the microbiota on intestinal and bone cell transcription factor activity, intracellular signaling pathway activation, stem cell lineage selection, apoptosis and metabolism. Our studies incorporate a team of scientists to better understand the microbiome, metabolomics, mathematical modeling, bone strength and immune system contributions to the gut-bone signaling axis.  

Educational Background:
University of Chicago, B.S., 1986, Biology  
University of Chicago, Ph.D., 1991, Biological Science

Selected Professional Activities:
Dr. McCabe received both the Young Investigator Award and the Hulda Irene Duggan Award from the Arthritis Foundation. She is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry.  She serves on grant review panels, including American Diabetes Association (ADA) and NIH.  She serves on the Melorheostosis Assoc. Scientific and Medical Advisory Board and the Ingham Regional Medical Center Research Advisory Committee. She is a member of the American Diabetes Association and the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.


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