In This Section

Research Programs

Faculty Research

The faculty in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology are actively engaged in basic research and other scholarly activities with the goal of advancing knowledge in the biomedical sciences. Faculty members in the Department have funded research programs in the areas of musculoskeletal biology, cardiovascular biology, reproductive biology, and neurobiology. Others, including some of the part-time faculty members, are involved in various scholarly activities related to education or the practice of clinical medicine. Listed below is a brief description of the research or scholarly interests for each faculty member actively engaged in these activities.

  • Mary F. Barbe - Research uses a rat model of cumulative trauma disorder to examine motor behavioral and pathophysiological changes associated with work-related musculoskeletal disorders.
  • Judith Daniels (Litvin) - Research uses cardiac myocyte development in the chicken embryo as a model system to study the cellular and molecular aspects of embryological events in heart development with the goal of elucidating the basis of cardiac myocyte proliferation and differentiation.
  • Thomas A. Marino – Scholarship and creative work focused on teaching methodologies, and philosophy as well as development of computer-based educational materials for use in our curriculum.
  • Brett A. Oxberry – Scholarship and creative work focused on the development and implementation of computer-based learning resources to address the educational objectives and needs of our curriculum.
  • Stephen H. Pilder - Research focuses on the genetic, molecular, and cellular bases of spermatogenesis and its relationship to subsequent steps in sperm function during the fertilization process.
  • Steven N. Popoff - Research focuses on the regulation of skeletal development and the pathogenesis of various metabolic bone diseases including congenital osteopetrosis, inflammation-mediated osteopenia and estrogen-deficient osteoporosis.
  • Carson D. Schneck – Scholarly activity involving various anatomic and imaging studies of clinical significance.
  • Arthur Washburn – Research interests focus on the functional morphology of the sexually dimorphic canine/premolar honing complex in anthropoid primates and early hominids and the subsequent loss of this dental complex in the human lineage.

There are also intra- and inter-departmental collaborations in the areas of musculoskeletal biology (Drs. Popoff, Safadi, Barbe and Litvin), arthritis (Drs. Popoff, Safadi, and Uknis), diabetes and bone formation (Drs. Safadi and Devlin), cardiovascular biology (Drs. Litvin, Margulies, and Auteri), and reproductive/developmental biology (Drs. Orth, Pilder, Latham). Productive collaborations between departmental faculty members and investigators at other Institutions have also been established including Drs. Popoff and Odgren (University of Massachusetts Medical School) on the role of CTGF in osteoclast recruitment/development and bone resorption in animal models of osteopetrosis, Drs. Safadi, John and Anderson (Jackson Laboratories) on the knockout mutation for osteoactivin, Drs. Popoff, Safadi and Owen (Pfizer Global Research and Development) regarding the role of CTGF and osteoactivin in osteoblast differentiation and function as well as skeletogenesis, Drs. Litvin and Montgomery (Centocor, Inc.) on cardiac myocyte differentiation.

Research Productivity

Productivity is measured by both the quality and quantity of publications, presentations at scientific/educational meetings, and invitations to give seminars at other Institutions. Over the past five year period, faculty members in Anatomy and Cell Biology have published in excess of 150 papers, reviews, chapters and books. Most publications are in the form of scientific papers published in high quality peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Biological Chemistry (impact factor 7.666), Development (impact factor 10.088), Journal of Bone and Mineral Research (impact factor 6.477), Journal of Cellular Biochemistry (impact factor 2.817), Developmental Biology (impact factor 6.049), Journal of Cellular Physiology (impact factor 2.827), Journal of Clinical Investigation (impact factor 10.921), Endocrinology (impact factor 5.365) and Journal of Immunology (impact factor 7.145). Faculty members regularly present their research findings or other scholarly work at various national and international scientific/educational meetings, conferences and workshops. Faculty members have also been recognized for their expertise and reputation in their fields by invitations to serve as Chairs of scientific sessions. For example Dr. Pilder was recently invited to serve as a chairperson at the 7th International Congress of Andrology in Montreal, Canada. Dr. Popoff was invited to chair a scientific session at the annual meeting for Advances in Mineral Metabolism in March, 2003, and has been selected to chair another session at the next meeting in March, 2005. Dr. Schneck, has been recognized for his excellence in clinical education and scholarly work in diagnostic imaging, neuroanatomy and kinesiology by being invited to give numerous presentations at various Institutions around the country and abroad.

Some faculty members have received awards in recognition of their excellence in research. These awards include travel awards to attend and present their work at meetings, young investigator awards and awards for senior investigators such as visiting research professorships. Recently, the Office of the Provost at Temple University established a One Million Dollar Research Awards Club to honor faculty members who have successfully obtained externally funded research grants and contracts which equal or exceed $1,000,000. It is noteworthy that in April, 2004, five faculty members from Anatomy and Cell Biology were chosen to be inducted into this select group of Temple research investigators in its inaugural year. The novel research findings of some faculty members have also led to the submission of patent applications.

Research Training/Mentoring Activities

Faculty members are also actively involved in research training/mentoring at different levels including graduate students, medical students, post-doctoral fellows, and assistant/associate scientists. The graduate program is an important component of the department’s research programs. In addition to training our graduate students, faculty are also involved in research training of medical students. Students are encouraged to participate in research preceptorships during the summer between the first and second year of medical school and most laboratories are involved in mentoring of these students. During the last five years, faculty in our department have provided research training for 18 medical and dental students. Some students choose to continue their research projects resulting in co-authorship on research publications and/or abstracts/presentations at scientific meetings. Two such recent examples are David Yucha, M.D. and Robert Garvin, M.D., both of whom successfully secured positions in competitive residency programs in Orthopaedic Surgery (Temple University Health System) and General Surgery (University of Pittsburgh Health System), respectively. Faculty are also active in training post-doctoral fellows, as well as assistant and associate scientists. In the past five years, the department has trained 10 post-doctoral fellows and eight assistant or associate scientists. While some are still in-training in our department, others have secured competitive positions in academia or industry. The department is committed to diversity in its training of post-doctoral fellows and scientists with an excellent record in the inclusion of women and minorities.