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Amanda C. LaRue, Ph.D.

The work of Amanda LaRue, Ph.D., challenges the conventional belief that almost all connective tissues other than blood originate from mesenchymal stem cells. Using a novel transplantation strategy in which a clonal population of cells derived from a single sorted enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP)–expressing hematopoietic cell (HSC) is transplanted into lethally irradiated mice, thereby allowing tracking of transplanted cells and their derivatives, her laboratory evaluates the contribution of HSCs to non-HSC lineages in normal tissue physiology, tumor development, and bone and cartilage repair. Her laboratory has shown that HSCs give rise to non-hematopoietic cells, including heart valve interstitial cells, perivascular cells, osteo-chondrogenic cells and carcinoma-associated fibroblasts. To assess the efficacy of HSC-based interventions in bone remodeling and fracture repair in preclinical models, she uses micro-CT available at the Center for Biomedical Imaging (CBI) and is collaborating with CBI faculty member Dr. Dean Connor to apply diffraction-enhanced imaging to the study of the damage done to soft tissue as well as bone during fracture to better understand how HSCs could help repair both types of tissue. A future goal of her research is to identify a scaffold for the fracture site that, together with HSCs, could promote healing of non-joining fractures such as those seen on the battlefield. LaRue would also like to study the role of HSC-derived carcinoma-associated fibroblasts in tumor progression and metastasis using her transplantation model in combination with fluorescence imaging and will work with CBI faculty with expertise in fluorescence to develop a methodology for this application.


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