Research Biographies

Before starting medical school, I worked as a research assistant for an orthopedic surgeon at Vanderbilt University. I had such an amazing experience working in this lab that I knew I wanted to return for the summer between first and second year. Therefore, I sought out research programs that would allow me to continue my research. Luckily, there are plenty of NIH funded stipends for medical students that will pay for summer research as well as encourage clinical exposure.

I was fortunate to obtain a position in the Vanderbilt Nephrology program funded through NIDDK. Not only was I able to be a part of this amazing program, but I was able to request my previous P.I. as my preceptor. It may seem counterintuitive to complete a nephrology program with an orthopedic surgeon, however, renal and bone biology are actually intimately related. Specifically, my research explored the hypothesis that a disruption in coagulation to favor hypercoagulabity contributes to renal osteodystrophy. To test this hypothesis, plasminogen deficient mice were used to analyze both bone integrity and renal function in relation to vascular maintenance.

While conducting this project, I also had the opportunity to finish previous projects exploring developmental bone diseases. In particular, I was able to continue research exploring the prevalence of hypertension in pediatric orthopedic diseases such as slipped capital femoral epiphysis and tibia vara. Additionally, I was able to finish a project aimed at determining the revasculariztion patterns in avascular necrosis of the hip in children known asLegg-Calve Perthes disease.

The experiences that I have had in research have been monumental in directing my future career aspirations. As I have enjoyed the critical thinking and problem solving inherent in basic science, ultimately I hope to incorporate research into my clinical practice.

Heather Cole

Micro-computed tomography derived anisotropy detects tumor provoked deviations in bone in an orthotopic osteosarcoma murine model.
Cole HA, Ohba T, Ichikawa J, Nyman JS, Cates JM, Haro H, Schwartz HS, Schoenecker JG. PLoS One. 2014 Jun 3;9(6):e97381. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0097381. eCollection 2014.

Autocrine VEGF/VEGFR1 Signaling in a Subpopulation of Cells Associates with Aggressive Osteosarcoma. Ohba T, Cates JM, Cole HA, Slosky DA, Haro H, Ando T, Schwartz HS, Schoenecker JG. Mol Cancer Res. 2014 Aug;12(8):1100-11. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-14-0037. Epub 2014 Apr 23.

Fibrin accumulation secondary to loss of plasmin-mediated fibrinolysis drives inflammatory osteoporosis in mice. Cole HA, Ohba T, Nyman JS, Hirotaka H, Cates JM, Flick MJ, Degen JL, Schoenecker JG.Arthritis Rheumatol. 2014 Aug;66(8):2222-33. doi: 10.1002/art.38639.

Pleiotropic effects of bisphosphonates on osteosarcoma. Ohba T, Cates JM, Cole HA, Slosky DA, Haro H, Ichikawa J, Ando T, Schwartz HS, Schoenecker JG. Bone. 2014 Jun;63:110-20. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2014.03.005. Epub 2014 Mar 14.

Bisphosphonates inhibit osteosarcoma-mediated osteolysis via attenuation of tumor expression of MCP-1 and RANKL. Ohba T, Cole HA, Cates JM, Slosky DA, Haro H, Ando T, Schwartz HS, Schoenecker JG.J Bone Miner Res. 2014 Jun;29(6):1431-45. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.2182.

Medial approach for drainage of the obturator musculature in children.
Menge TJ, Cole HA, Mignemi ME, Corn WC, Martus JE, Lovejoy SA, Stutz CM, Mencio GA, Schoenecker JG.J Pediatr Orthop. 2014 Apr-May;34(3):307-15. doi: 10.1097/BPO.0000000000000118.

Epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment of pericapsular pyomyositis of the hip in children. Mignemi ME, Menge TJ, Cole HA, Mencio GA, Martus JE, Lovejoy S, Stutz CM, Schoenecker JG.J Pediatr Orthop. 2014 Apr-May;34(3):316-25. doi: 10.1097/BPO.0000000000000106.

Differential development of the distal and proximal femoral epiphysis and physis in mice. Cole HA, Yuasa M, Hawley G, Cates JM, Nyman JS, Schoenecker JG.
Bone. 2013 Jan;52(1):337-46. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2012.10.011. Epub 2012 Oct 15.

Fracture healing in protease-activated receptor-2 deficient mice. O'Neill KR, Stutz CM, Mignemi NA, Cole H, Murry MR, Nyman JS, Hamm H, Schoenecker JG.
J Orthop Res. 2012 Aug;30(8):1271-6. doi: 10.1002/jor.22071. Epub 2012 Jan 13.

Thrombin induces osteosarcoma growth, a function inhibited by low molecular weight heparin in vitro and in vivo: procoagulant nature of osteosarcoma.
Ichikawa J, Cole HA, Magnussen RA, Mignemi NA, Butler M, Holt GE, O'Rear L, Yuasa M, Pabla B, Haro H, Cates JM, Hamm HE, Schwartz HS, Schoenecker JG. Cancer. 2012 May 1;118(9):2494-506. doi: 10.1002/cncr.26518. Epub 2011 Sep 27.

Quantifying intra-osseous growth of osteosarcoma in a murine model with radiographic analysis. Cole HA, Ichikawa J, Colvin DC, O'Rear L, Schoenecker JG.J Orthop Res. 2011 Dec;29(12):1957-62. doi: 10.1002/jor.21474. Epub 2011 Jun 8.

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