Dr. Alford is a cellular and molecular biologist in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery’s Orthopaedic Research Laboratories. Her research program focuses on identifying contributions of the bone tissue microenvironment to bone cellular physiology in the contexts of development and regeneration. Dr. Alford earned her PhD in the department of cellular and molecular physiology at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine in Hershey. After earning her doctorate, Dr. Alford did post-doctoral research in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Penn State and then at Duke University. Subsequently, Dr. Alford was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship through the Regenerative Sciences Training Program at the University of Michigan. She joined the faculty in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery in 2006. Her research program is supported by an NIH career development award, and in 2012 she received a John Haddad Young Investigator Award from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.
Areas of Interest
All tissues have a unique extracellular matrix (ECM). The ECM interacts with the cells that assembled it in dynamic, reciprocal and biological ways that are particularly well illustrated in the skeleton. In bone, ECM is secreted and assembled by osteoblast progenitor cells, and cellular interactions with this matrix are instrumental in osteoblast-osteocyte lineage progression, maturation and bone matrix production. In this context, Dr. Alford’s research program focuses on the ECM protein, thrombospondin-2, which promotes commitment of progenitor cells to the osteoblast lineage, facilitates assembly of bone ECM and contributes to skeletal development and regeneration.
Ph.D., 2000, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine