Meet Our Team
  David Rowe David Rowe received the M.D. degree from the University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, in 1969. He is currently a Professor in the Department of Genetics and Developmental Biology, University of Connecticut Health Center (UCHC), Farmington, CT, where he has been Physician Health Services Chair in human genetics since 1992. He is also the Director of Regenerative Medicine and Skeletal Development, School of Dental Medicine, Farmington.
 

Dr. Rowe was initiated into skeletal biology as a Clinical Associate in the Dental Institute of NIH in the biochemistry laboratory of Drs. Karl Piez and George Martin. At the time the primary structure of type I collagen was being determined and steps of processing procollagen to collagen were being discovered. It was during that time that the first gene mutations affecting collagen that lead to certain forms of Ehlers Danlos and Osteogenesis Imperfecta were identified. Thus Dr. Rowe has observed and participated in the progression of genetics, molecular biology, stem cell and regenerative medicine develop as it applies to human skeletal health. His laboratory effort has been primarily based on the mouse as an effective surrogate for the human diseases of the skeleton.

As the genetically manipulated mouse became the standard for studying human disease, Dr. Rowe began to focus on how to develop sensitive, low cost and high throughput technologies for characterizing the histological features of skeletal tissues. The sensitivity and specificity of fluorescent based imaging because increasingly evident and methods had to be developed to take advantage of these properties. Working closely with Dr. Xi Jiang, a procedure for capturing intact sections of frozen non-decalcified skeletal tissue because the base procedure for histological staining and imaging that is used through out our mouse based studies. The ability to co-localize the structure of the mineralized tissue, its associated mineralization lines, plus the presence of osteoblasts and osteoclasts all on the same section brought efficiency and histological registration to a new level of resoluton.

At the same time that the histological advances were being made, Dr. Rowe and Shin had been collaborating in developing computational tools for organizing and interpreting microarray studies. When Dr. Hong, who was trained in image analysis, joined Dr. Shin’s laboratory, an opportunity was realized that the fluorescent signals from the new histology could be recognized by the computer. Over the ensuing 2-3 years, the algorithms that discriminate, calculate and display the relationship of the signals to the bone surface were developed. As this computer-based analysis became automated, we realized that his program could be expanded to a wide variety of skeletal tissues and biological processes that involve mineralized tissue formation and turnover.

The opportunity to demonstrate that our histological acquisition and image analysis could be expanded to a larger dataset became a reality with the funding of the KOMP2 program for skeletal phenotyping. Dr. Cheryl Ackert Bicknell joined our group effort and provided the genetic expertise and access to the mice that were being evaluated in the KOMP pipeline at the Jackson Laboratory. This source of genetically characterized mice on a highly defined genetic background give us the opportunity to demonstrate that skeletal phenotyping can be performed in a objective and consistent manner, and that the information can be presented to the public in a organized, searchable and biologically relevant manner. Thus, the goal of Dr. Rowe’s effort in KOMP is that the concept can be expanded to other sources of genetically modified mice and to other mineralizing skeletal tissues (mineralizing cartilage, dentition, and calvarial sutures).

  Dung-Guk Shin Dong-Guk Shin received his Ph.D. in computer science and engineering from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1985. He is currently a Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Connecticut, Storrs, where he is the Director of the Bioinformatics and Bio-Computing Institute. He is leading a number of research projects related to bioinformatics through funding from National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and Department of Energy. His current research interests include semantic data modeling, database interoperability, knowledge discovery from databases, graphical user interface design, biological data mining, and human computer interaction. Dr. Shin is the recipient of the University of Connecticut Chancellor’s Information Technology Award in 1999.
  Cheryl Ackert-Bicknell Cheryl Ackert-Bicknell received her Ph.D. from the University of Maine in 2007. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation at the University of Rochester, where she is a member of the Center for Musculoskeletal Research. She is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Reconstructive Medicine in the School of Dental Medicine at the University of Connecticut. Her research focuses on understanding the genetic regulation of bone mass with an emphasis on uncovering the genes responsible for regulating osteoblast maturation and function and how to do these genes interact in gene-gene networks. Dr. Ackert-Bicknell is the Principal Investigator on a number of grants from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, National Institute of Health.
  Douglas J Adams Douglas J Adams received his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering in 1996 from The University of Iowa. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Connecticut. His research interests include discovery of genetic determinants of bone morphometry and quality, connective tissue repair & regeneration, and mechanical factors affecting joint tissue rehabilitation following injury. He also directs the Micromechanics & Micro-Imaging Laboratory in the Medical School at the University of Connecticut, which helps investigators in developing specialized techniques for surgical and experimental models. Dr. Adams’ work has been supported by numerous grants from the NIH, DOD and from private foundations.
  Seung-Hyun Hong Seung-Hyun Hong received his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from University of Connecticut in 2005. He is currently an Assitant Research Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Connecticut, Storrs. His research interests include Static/Dynamic Bone Histomorphometry, Assessing Bone Defect Repair, Automated Image analysis, Image Processing and Pattern Recognition.
  Caibin Zhang Caibin Zhang received her MS degree in Applied Science from Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China, in 1994. She has been an Application Developer in the Department of Reconstructive Science, University of Connecticut Health since 2003. Her interest is developing management system using FileMaker database platform. Currently several systems have been developed such as: Department Information Management; Lab Information Management including mouse colony, experiment and image management; Molecular Core Facility Management; Gene Targeting and Transgenic Facility management; Clinical Trial Budget Management, Human Anatomy Handoff system.
  Li Chen Li Chen received her BA degree in English Language Arts in Hunan Normal University in Changsha, China, in 1994. She has been a research assistant in the Department of Reconstructive Science, University of Connecticut Health since 2005. Her research interests include: embedding and cryosectioning of four femurs or vertebrae at the same time, multiple enzyme activity staining on the same section, automated imaging and data managing for histomorphometry.

Her research interests also include: cryosectioning of various tissues such as teeth, calvarial defect, long bone defect and tibia fracture etc, different immunostaining of the sections and automated imaging for image core.

  Xi Jiang Xi Jiang received the M.D. degree from Henan Medical University, China in 1985. She finished postdoc training in the Department of Pathology at UCHC from 1997 to 2001. Afterward, she moved to Dr. Rowe’s laboratory that worked with mineralized skeletal tissue and began to develop an entirely new method for retaining GFP fluorescence and fluorescent dyes labeling in adult non-decalcified bone tissue. This technique utilizes a specialized film process and uses many new staining and imaging for bone histomorphometry.
  Renata Rydzik Renata Rydzik received her MS degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Bialystok, in Bialystok, Poland in 1996. She has been a Research Assistant in the Department of Orthpaedics, at the University of Connecticut Health since 2005. Her research interests include microCT imaging of small animal musculoskeletal tissues and data analysis of bone mass and geometry data. In addition, she has experience in testing mechanics strength of rodent tissues.
  Zhihua Wu Zhihua Wu received her Associate degree in English Language Arts in Shanxi Normal University in Xian, China, in 1988. She has been a research assistant in the Department of Reconstructive Science, University of Connecticut Health since 2013. Her research interests include mouse colony management, samples processing, embedding and cryosectioning, data managing.
  Pujan Joshi Pujan Joshi received his MS degree in Computer Science and Engineering from University of Connecticut (UCONN) in 2010. He has numerous years of industry experience in developing web user interfaces and database using Oracle, PL/SQL, Java and PHP technologies. He also has experience in handling and managing microarray and Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) data. He is currently a Research Assistant at the Bioinformatics and Bio-Computing Institute (BIBCI) in UCONN which oversees multiple bioinformatics data analysis projects between UCONN Health Center (UCHC) and the main campus.