The unifying theme of the Charles lab is bone physiology, with a particular focus on the role of the osteoclast. Members of the lab focus on several distinct areas of research. The first area is understanding how osteoclasts can influence osteoblast function, for example by promoting osteoblast migration, differentiation and/or function at resorption lacunae. We study osteoclast-osteoblast interactions in the context of two rare bone diseases: osteoclast rich osteopetrosis and fibrous dysplasia. A second area of interest in the lab is the mechanism by which gut microbiota modulate host physiology to impact bone formation. Lastly, we have a longstanding interest in understanding how the microenvironment in inflammatory arthritis affects bone physiology within the joint and beyond.
We are located in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery but have many interactions and collaborations with the Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology and Dr. Charles holds a joint appointment in Orthopaedics and Medicine. The scientific philosophy of the lab is that science is a team sport and lab members are encouraged to share their expertise with each other. The open plan setting of the Orthopaedic lab facilitates close interactions with neighboring groups and a great sense of community – from Wednesday afternoon cake time to birthday celebrations to the occasional happy hour (covid situation permitting).