NIH Awards $1,640,000 Grant to Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center

 Ernesto Canalis, M.D., to Study Notch Signaling in Osteocytes 

(Hartford, Conn. March 27, 2013) – Ernesto Canalis M.D.Ernesto Canalis, M.D., Director of Research at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, is the Principal Investigator on a $1,640,000 grant award from the National Institute of Arthritis Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases to investigate the Role of Notch Signaling in Osteocytes over the next five years. 

The purpose of the grant is to study a new signal termed Notch and how it affects the function of specialized cells embedded in the bone matrix, termed osteocytes.  Notch determines the fate of bone cells and has been implicated in diseases affecting both the developing and the adult skeleton.  

“Osteocytes communicate messages to other cells within the skeleton and play a fundamental role in the maintenance of bone integrity,” notes Dr. Canalis.  

A primary goal of the study is to determine the functional role played by Notch in skeletal cells and its possible role in certain forms of osteoporosis and disorders characterized by bone loss. 

For nearly three decades, Dr. Canalis has been working to unravel the effects of bone growth factors. He was the first investigator to demonstrate that growth factors play a critical role in bone cell function.  

In recognition of his contributions to medical sciences, Dr. Canalis has been the recipient of  the Ann Doner Vaughan Kappa Delta Award for Excellence in Orthopedic Research from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, the Gerald Aurbach Award for Outstanding Research in Endocrinology from the Endocrine Society, the Marshall Urist Award for Excellence in Tissue Regeneration Research from the Orthopedic Research Society, the Louis V. Avioli Founders Award for fundamental contributions to bone and mineral basic research from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR), and the Lawrence G. Raisz Award for Outstanding Achievements in Preclinical Translational Research from the ASBMR. Dr. Canalis has also served as President of the ASBMR. 

Dr. Canalis’ work has been supported by the National Institutes of Health for over 30 years. His research is highly relevant to metabolic bone disease and osteoporosis, a major health issue facing men and women as America’s baby boomers age.  

About Saint Francis Care 

Saint Francis Care is an integrated healthcare delivery system established by Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, an anchor institution in north central Connecticut since 1897.  Licensed for 617 beds and 65 bassinets, it is a major teaching hospital and the largest Catholic hospital in New England.  Other major entities of Saint Francis Care include The Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital, the Connecticut Joint Replacement Institute, the Hoffman Heart and Vascular Institute of Connecticut, the Saint Francis/Mount Sinai Regional Cancer Center, the Joyce D. and Andrew J. Mandell Center for Comprehensive Multiple Sclerosis Care and Neuroscience Research, and Saint Francis HealthCare Partners.  Its services are supported by a network of five major Access Centers and eight additional medical office centers sited throughout the region.  For more information, visit 

NIH Disclaimer 


Research reported in the publication was supported by the National Institute Of Arthritis And Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01AR0630049. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.