Osteoporosis Expert to Discuss Bone Health, Impact of Environment

October 10, 2006

J. Edward Puzas, Ph.D., an expert on bones and the diseases that afflict them – including osteoporosis and bone cancer – will discuss his work as part of a lecture series highlighting biological and biomedical research at the University of Rochester.

Puzas will speak at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13, in Adolph Auditorium (Room 1-7619) at the Medical Center. It’s the latest installment of the “Second Friday Science Social” lecture series geared mainly to faculty, staff and students at the University, though the general public is welcome as well. The lectures are free. More information is available at http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/sss/.

As the executive director of Strong Memorial Hospital’s Osteoporosis Center, Puzas heads one of the world’s foremost research groups on osteoporosis, the thinning of bones that affects more than 20 million people in the United States. Puzas and his colleagues are studying the molecular signals that govern osteoporosis, a first step in a bid to slow or reverse the disease. They have found evidence that lead plays a major role in bone maturation and loss, making millions of people more vulnerable to osteoporosis years earlier than would otherwise occur. Puzas has helped organize a clinical trial studying links between high lead levels and weaker bones.

Puzas is also using his knowledge of how bone builds up and breaks down to look into new ways to prevent artificial knees and hips from loosening, and understand arthritis more fully. Puzas also studies bone cancer, looking at new ways to limit the spread of the disease. In cancer of the prostate or breast, for instance, nine times out of 10 the bones are the first target for the cancer cells, which use bones as a launch pad to invade vital organs like the liver, lungs, kidneys and brain.

Puzas earned his doctorate in radiation biology and biophysics from the University in 1976 and has also taught and done research at Yale University, the University of Washington in Seattle, and Oxford University. He has won several awards for his research, including the Kappa Delta Prize for Outstanding Orthopaedic Research and the Kroc Foundation Award for Excellence in Cartilage and Bone Research. He is past president of the Orthopaedic Research Society and is president-elect of the U.S. Bone and Joint Decade, an initiative that seeks to improve the care of people with bone and joint disorders.

A researcher in Center for Musculoskeletal Research, Puzas is the Donald and Mary Clark Professor of Orthopedics and also holds faculty appointments in Biochemistry, Biomedical Engineering, Oncology, and Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.

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