The prestigious five-year MRC Career Development Award is designed to support talented early stage scientists as they transition to become independent investigators. The award will allow Anjali to pursue an ambitious programme of research aimed at understanding how blood vessels might be targeted to stimulate new bone growth in disease.
Bone is maintained through a delicate balance between breakdown of existing tissue and formation of new bone by cells called osteoblasts. During aging, however, new bone formation becomes less efficient, increasing risk of fractures and other musculoskeletal disorders.
Anjali's previous research as a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Plank Institute, Germany identified a certain type of endothelial cells in blood vessels that create a nurturing environment for bone progenitors. Experimental activation of these endothelial cells could increase bone mass during aging.
Anjali now wants to better understand the signals and cell types that mediate communication between blood vessels and stem/progenitor cells. She hopes this will lead to new strategies to manipulate bone growth and turnover.
Speaking of her award, Anjali said: "It is crucial to improve our understanding of the bone marrow microenvironment in order to identify startegies to treat bone diseases. I'm really excited. Getting an MRC Career Development Award acknowledges the fact that the project is good enough to be financed externally".
Anjali joined the Kennedy Institute in July 2016 supported by funds from the Kennedy Trust for Rheumatology Research.