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Deepak Vashishth, Ph.D.

AIMBE College of Fellows Class of 2012
For contributions to the understanding of how both age and collagen‐modification affect bone fragility.

Making Old Bones New Again

Via Rensselaer | July 31, 2014

Troy, N.Y. – As we age, our bones grow more brittle and more susceptible to fracture. Individuals with diabetes or with certain types of osteoporosis often are similarly afflicted with brittle bones.

A new study from biomedical engineers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute demonstrates how the compound N-phenacylthiazolium bromide, or PTB, dissolves the sugary impurities within bone tissue that cause our femurs, fibulas, and other bones to become more fragile.

Using PTB to reduce bone fragility and boost bone flexibility could lead to new strategies for preventing bone fractures in elderly individuals, as well as accelerated bone healing in patients with diabetes or osteoporosis.

“This study opens the door to new ways of thinking about the well-established, highly serious problem of brittle bones,” said Deepak Vashishth, professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and director of the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies (CBIS) at Rensselaer, who led the study. “These research findings are an important milestone on the path to our long-term goal of realizing a drug-based intervention for reducing age-related changes in bone tissue.”

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Deepak Vashishth Named Director of Rensselaer Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies | News & Events

Via Rensselaer News | April 22, 2013

Deepak Vashishth, a bone and tissue engineering expert, and current head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has been appointed director of the Rensselaer Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies (CBIS), effective April 16. He succeeds Jonathan Dordick, who is now vice president for research.

“Deepak Vashishth is well recognized as a prominent leader within his field, which is itself an embodiment of the interdisciplinary work that is at the heart of the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies,” said Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson. “He is a tireless researcher and an established leader, and I am confident that the center will continue to develop and flourish under his direction.”

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What Causes Fractures in Healthy Bones

Via The Times of India | March 4, 2013

The findings by engineering researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute could lead to new strategies and therapeutics for fighting osteoporosis and lowering the risk of bone fracture.

Funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the study details how fractures in healthy bones begin with the creation of incredibly tiny holes, each measuring only about 500 atoms in diameter, within the bone’s mineral structure.

In the case of a slip, trip, or fall, the force of the impact on a bone physically deforms a pair of joined proteins, osteopontin and osteocalcin, and results in the formation of nanoscale holes. These holes, called dilatational bands, function as a natural defense mechanism, and help to prevent further damage to the surrounding bone. However, if the force of the impact is too great—or if the bone is lacking osteopontin, osteocalcin, or both—the bone will crack and fracture.

The multi-university study, led by Deepak Vashishth, head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Rensselaer, is the first to give evidence of fracture at the level of bone’s nanostructure. Partnering with Rensselaer on the study were Villanova University, the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, and Yale University.

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Rensselaer Researchers Delve Into Osteocalcin

Via Orthopedics This Week | December 21, 2012

A team from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has found—for the first time—how the protein osteocalcin plays a significant role in the strength of our bones. The findings could lead to new strategies and therapeutics for fighting osteoporosis and lowering the risk of bone fracture. This work, led by Deepak Vashishth, Ph.D., head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Rensselaer, is the first to give evidence of fracture at the level of bone’s nanostructure. Additional partners include Villanova University, the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, and Yale University.

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Battling Brittle Bones … With Broccoli and Spinach?

Via Rensselaer News | December 11, 2012

A study from engineering researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute shows, for the first time, how the little-understood protein osteocalcin plays a significant role in the strength of our bones. The findings could lead to new strategies and therapeutics for fighting osteoporosis and lowering the risk of bone fracture.

Funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the study details how fractures in healthy bones begin with the creation of incredibly tiny holes, each measuring only about 500 atoms in diameter, within the bone’s mineral structure. In the case of a slip, trip, or fall, the force of the impact on a bone physically deforms a pair of joined proteins, osteopontin and osteocalcin, and results in the formation of nanoscale holes. These holes, called dilatational bands, function as a natural defense mechanism, and help to prevent further damage to the surrounding bone. However, if the force of the impact is too great—or if the bone is lacking osteopontin, osteocalcin, or both—the bone will crack and fracture.

The multi-university study, led by Deepak Vashishth, head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Rensselaer, is the first to give evidence of fracture at the level of bone’s nanostructure. Partnering with Rensselaer on the study were Villanova University, the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, and Yale University.

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New Technique Yields Troves of Information From Nanoscale Bone Samples

Via Rensselaer News | June 22, 2011

Engineering Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Have Developed New Process for the Microdissection and In-Depth Biochemical Analysis of Bone Tissue

A new technique developed at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute allows researchers to collect large amounts of biochemical information from nanoscale bone samples.

Along with adding important new insights into the fight against osteoporosis, this innovation opens up an entirely new proteomics-based approach to analyzing bone quality. It could even aid the archeological and forensic study of human skeletons.

“We’re able to take very small, nanoscale-sized bone samples, and determine the protein signatures of the bone,” said Deepak Vashishth, head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Rensselaer, who led the study. “This is a relatively quick, easy way for us to determine the history of the bone – how and when it formed – as well as the quality of the bone, and its likelihood to fracture.”

Results of the study, titled “Biochemical Characterization of Major Bone-Matrix Proteins Using Nanoscale-Size Bone Samples and Proteomics Methodology,” were released online in late May by the journal Molecular & Cellular Proteomics . The journal, published by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, will also feature the paper in an upcoming print edition. The study may be viewed online at: http://bit.ly/lAfSfI.

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Study Author ‘Confident’ Research Will Lead to New Methods of Diagnosing Osteoporosis

Via Arthritis Research UK | October 1, 2010

A new five-year study is likely to lead to the development of new ways of diagnosing osteoporosis and more effective drugs to combat the disease, it has been claimed.

The research, which has been funded by the US National Institutes of Health, will be led by Deepak Vashishth, professor and head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Rensselaer.

In conjunction with researchers from Yale University and the Hospital of Special Surgery, Professor Vashishth will assess the long-term impact of the proteins osteocalcin and osteopontin on bone fractures.

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Proteins To Yield New Clues in Fight Against Osteoporosis

Via Rensselaer News | September 29, 2010

A $1.76 million study at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute seeks to identify new methods of diagnosing osteoporosis and inform the development of next-generation drugs to treat the bone disease.

The five-year study, funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), is led by Deepak Vashishth, professor and head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Rensselaer. Partnering with researchers from Yale University and the Hospital of Special Surgery, Vashishth will investigate what role two proteins, osteocalcin and osteopontin, play in bone fractures over time.

“Age-related bone fractures are a major health problem in the United States, and the risk of suffering this kind of fracture increases as we get older and our bones grow more fragile,” Vashishth said. “Our study examines how the proteins osteocalcin and osteopontin may impact bone fragility and fracture. We’re confident that our results will lead to new methods of diagnosing osteoporosis, provide new targets for drug development, and advance the fight against this devastating disease.”

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