Centre for Children's Bone & Musculoskeletal Health

Our basic, translational, and clinical research has made a significant impact on the understanding of paediatric bone health and this has directly translated into treatment for children with complex medical illness and orthopaedic conditions.

We research genetic bone diseases, fracture healing and orthopaedic injuries, secondary osteoporosis, avascular necrosis of bone, pharmaceutical therapies, and bone tissue engineering.

Our research is integrated with that of the Institute of Endocrinology & Diabetes and the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery under the umbrella of the Centre for Children’s Bone and Musculoskeletal Health.

We aim to improve the bone health of children through a better understanding of bone diseases, bone healing and pharmaceutical therapies.

The opening of our EPIC laboratory in January 2016, a state-of-the-art facility for development of Engineering Prototypes & Implants for Children. CCBMH research is supported by NSW Health, AusIndustry, NHMRC, Hyundai Help for Kids Foundation and the Sticks & Stones Foundation.

Current projects

Our dedicated team of postdoctoral scientists, clinicians, research assistants, coordinators and postgraduate students works on a wide range of translational projects.

Current Centre for Children's Bone and Musculoskeletal Health projects include:

  • Osteogenesis Imperfecta (brittle bone disease): towards a cure
  • Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis: preventing hip replacements in children
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease: finding ways to prevent lifelong disability
  • Optimising anabolic (bone-forming) and catabolic (bone-resorbing) responses
  • Understanding the important role of vitamin D in bone development
  • Addressing musculoskeletal problems associated with Neurofibromatosis Type 1
  • Bisphosphonates and novel therapeutics for promotion of fracture healing
  • Using innovative biotechnology approaches for bone healing in children

The research team

> Professor David Little, CCBMH Group Leader, email: david.little@health.nsw.gov.au

David is a world renowned surgeon, researcher and educator in children’s orthopaedics. He is in a unique position to pose difficult research questions based on areas of clinical need, examine these in a laboratory setting and then translate these findings back to the care of children. More information can be found on David's University of Sydney profile page

> Associate Professor Aaron Schindeler, Head of the Bioengineering and Molecular Medicine Laboratory, email: aaron.schindeler@sydney.edu.au

Aaron has research expertise in the area of advanced models of musculoskeletal disease, bone tissue engineering and novel therapies. His current research focuses on muscle and bone biology genetic disorders and treatments for Osteogenesis Imperfecta in children. Please visit Aaron's University of Sydney profile page for more information.

> Professor Craig Munns, Metabolic Bone Team Leader, email: craig.munns@sydney.edu.au

Craig is an endocrinologist: one of few in the world to concentrate solely on bone health. He has a broad international reputation and has contributed much of the original material to the world literature clarifying the treatment of bone disorders. More information is available on Craig's University of Sydney profile page.

> Professor Joshua Burns, Director of the Paediatric Gait Analysis Laboratory, email: joshua.burns@health.nsw.gov.au

Joshua combines clinical and research training in podiatry, neurology and physiotherapy. His research is world leading and focuses around developing and evaluating new treatments for children with nerve, muscle and bone disorders. Joshua's University of Sydney profile page has more information.

> Other Research Team Members

  • Tegan Cheng, Group Leader (EPIC Lab)
  • Alyson Morse, PhD Student
  • Lucinda Lee, PhD Student
  • Emily Vasiljevski, PhD Student
  • Sumedh Kamble, PhD Student
  • Justin Bobyn, PhD Student
  • Jonathon Lillia, Research Assistant
  • Lauren Peacock, Research Assistant
  • Hoai-Lan Mai, Administrator
  • Dr Andrew Biggin, Osteogenesis Imperfecta Research Fellow
  • Lynne Foxall, Research Coordinator
  • Sheetal Reddy, Research Coordinator
  • Dr Oliver Birke, Orthopaedic Clinical Trial Co-ordinator

Key publications

Schindeler A, Yu NY, Cheng TL, Sullivan K, Mikulec K, Peacock L, Matthews R, Little DG (2015) Local Delivery of the Cationic Steroid Antibiotic CSA-90 Enables Osseous Union in a Rat Open Fracture Model of Staphylococcus aureus Infection. J Bone Joint Surg Am 97:302-9

Morse A, McDonald MM, Kelly NH, Melville KM, Schindeler A, Kramer I, Kneissel M, van der Meulen MC, Little DG (2014) Mechanical load increases in bone formation via a sclerostin-independent pathway. J Bone Miner Res 29:2456-67

Gray K, Gibbons PJ, Little DG, Burns J (2014) Are unilateral and bilateral clubfeet created equal? Analysis of severity and correlation. Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics, Part B.  23(5):397-9

Murphy CM, Schindeler A, Cantrill LC, Mikulec K, Peacock L, Little DG (2014) PTH(1-34) Treatment Increases Bisphosphonate Turnover in Fracture Repair in Rats. J Bone Miner Res Dec 8. [Epub ahead of print]

Najafi B, Wrobel JS, Burns J (2014) Mechanism of orthotic therapy for the painful cavus foot deformity. Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 7:2

Gray K, Pacey V, Gibbons P, Little D, Burns J (2014) Interventions for congenital talipes equinovarus (clubfoot). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2014, Issue 8. Art. No.: CD008602

Cheng TL, Valtchev P, Murphy CM, Cantrill L, Dehghani F, Little DG, Schindeler A (2013) A sugar-based phase-transitioning delivery system for bone tissue engineering. Eur Cell Mater 26:208-21

El-Hoss J, Sullivan K, Cheng T, Yu N, Bobyn J, Peacock L, Mikulec K, Baldock P, Alexander IE, Schindeler A, Little DG (2012) A murine model of neurofibromatosis type 1 tibial pseudarthrosis featuring proliferative fibrous tissue and osteoclast-like cells. J Bone Miner Res 27(1):68-78

Schindeler A, Morse A, Peacock L, Mikulec K, Yu NYC, Liu R, Kijumnuayporn S, McDonald MM, Baldock PA, Ruys AJ, Little DG (2010) Rapid cell culture and pre-clinical screening of a transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) inhibitor for orthopaedics. BMC Musculoskelet Disord 11:105

Schindeler A, McDonald MM, Bokko P, Little DG (2008) Bone remodeling during fracture repair: the cellular picture. Sem Cell Dev Biol 19(5):459-466