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Chike Cao, Ph.D.

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Faculty Appointments


Professional Background

Dr. Chike Cao joined the Center for Musculoskeletal Research, Department of Othoepadics at University of Rochester Medical Center in September of 2020. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Biological Education from Huazhong Normal University in China. She received her Master’s degree at University of Arkansas in Dr. Michael Lehmann’s laboratory studying program cell death in Drosophila. She obtained her doctoral degree at New Jersey Medical School, Rutgers University in Dr. Tibor Rohacs’s lab focusing on TRP Ca2+ channel regulation. Dr. Cao worked as a post-doctoral fellow at Mayo Clinic under the mentorship of Dr. Gianrico Farrugia studying Ano1 chloride channel in ICCs and Duke University under the mentorship of Dr. Geoffrey Pitt and Dr. Matthew Hilton investigating CaV1.2 L-type Ca2+ channel for bone formation. She then joined the faculty as an instructor in Dr. Geoffrey Pitt’s lab at Weill Cornell Medicine, collaborating with Dr. Christopher Mendias and Dr. Scott Rodeo to study the function of CaV1.2 in tendon formation.


Dr. Cao’s research focuses on understanding the physiological and pathophysiological contribution of CaV1.2 Ca2+ channel, its activation mechanisms and the molecular basis of Ca2+-dependent cellular processes during non-excitable musculoskeletal tissue (such as bone and tendon) development, postnatal growth and their repair/regeneration upon injury. The long-term goal of her research program aims to translate their findings related to Ca2+ channel and Ca2+ signaling in basic bone and tendon biology to clinical trials in patients to help prevent and treat musculoskeletal diseases such as osteoporosis, tendinopathies, and heterotopic ossification in soft tissues. Her approach utilizes genetic mouse models, primary cell culture systems, pharmacological approaches, next-generation sequencing techniques, multiphoton Ca2+ imaging to define the molecular mechanisms and signaling cascades up/downstream of CaV1.2 in bone and tendon formation.


Sponsor: National Institutes of Health

Alice L. Jee Young Investigator Award
Sponsor: ORS Musculoskeletal Biology Workshop at Sun Valley

Harold M. Frost Young Investigator Award
Sponsor: ORS Musculoskeletal Biology Workshop at Sun Valley

2016 - 2017
Travel Award
Sponsor: American Society of Bone and Mineral Research

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Journal Articles

Pitt GS, Matsui M, Cao C. "Voltage-Gated Calcium Channels in Nonexcitable Tissues." Annual review of physiology.. 2020 Oct 26; Epub 2020 Oct 26.

Cao C, Oswald AB, Fabella BA, Ren Y, Rodriguiz R, Trainor G, Greenblatt MB, Hilton MJ, Pitt GS. "The Ca1.2 L-type calcium channel regulates bone homeostasis in the middle and inner ear." Bone.. 2019 Aug; 125:160-168. Epub 2019 May 20.

Cao C, Ren Y, Barnett AS, Mirando AJ, Rouse D, Mun SH, Park-Min KH, McNulty AL, Guilak F, Karner CM, Hilton MJ, Pitt GS. "Increased Ca2+ signaling through CaV1.2 promotes bone formation and prevents estrogen deficiency-induced bone loss." JCI insight.. 2017 Nov 16; 2(22)Epub 2017 Nov 16.