MIT Unit Affiliation:
Lab Affiliation(s):
Edelman Lab, Artzi Lab
Post Doc Sponsor / Advisor:
Elazer Edelman, Natalie Artzi
Areas of Expertise:
  • Orthopedics
  • Nanocomposites
  • Disease Microenviroment
Date PhD Completed:
December, 2013
Expected End Date of Post Doctoral Position:
August 1, 2016

Sara Strecker

  • Post Doctoral

MIT Unit Affiliation: 

  • Health Sciences and Technology

Lab Affiliation(s): 

Edelman Lab, Artzi Lab

Post Doc Sponsor / Advisor: 

Elazer Edelman, Natalie Artzi

Date PhD Completed: 

Dec, 2013

Top 3 Areas of Expertise: 

Disease Microenviroment

Personal Statement: 

A biomedical sciences PhD with extensive experience in skeletal diseases, cell biology and systems biology looking for a rewarding career in Academia.  Proficient in in vivo and in vitro experimental design and modeling of human skeletal disorders, including characterization of the disease microenvironment. Strong ability to collaborate and work in a team environment, design new experiments and work in new areas on multi-disciplinary projects

Expected End Date of Post Doctoral Position: 

August 1, 2016


Research Projects: 

Working in collaboration with Sanofi pharmaceuticals to create an injectable nanocomposite hydrogel that allows for small molecule delivery in an arthroscopic environment.  

  • Independently characterizing fibrosis and the disease microenvironment in rabbit osteochondral defects, focusing on cartilage degeneration and insufficient repair, including antibody validation in this model. 
  • Led team to develop an in vivo mouse model platform for intervertebral disc disease using fluorescent reporters


Thesis Title: 

The Osterix Reporter Mouse Identifies a Bone Marrow Skeletal Progenitor Cell Population

Thesis Abstract: 

Multipotent skeletal progenitor cells that reside in the bone marrow and contribute to the maintenance and repair of bone tissue are difficult to identify and, as a result, remain poorly understood.  Osterix is a zinc finger transcription factor, which functions as a key regulator of bone formation.  Cells of the osteoblast lineage generate bone tissue by depositing a mineralized matrix [1, 2].  Osterix is selectively expressed in cells of the osteoblast lineage and has an essential function in osteoblast commitment and bone formation [1, 3].  While it is generally accepted that Osterix is expressed in early osteogenic precursors [3-6], recent studies from our lab and others have suggested that Osterix may be expressed at an even earlier stage of the lineage, being present in a multipotent bone marrow skeletal progenitor cell population, which can be expanded in vitro as a bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs).

             To further explore the expression of Osterix in early bone marrow skeletal progenitor cells, we have generated Osterix-Cherry reporter mice. Preliminary characterization of this animal model suggests reporter expression accurately represents endogenous Osterix expression, being largely restricted to skeletal tissues. Additionally, FACS isolation, replating, and differentiation of Osterix-cherry positive bone marrow derived stromal cells provide evidence of their skeletal multipotency, indicated by their ability to differentiate into osteoblasts, adipocytes and chondrocytes.  Based on our preliminary data, we have formulated the following hypothesis:

Osterix expression identifies a multipotent bone marrow skeletal progenitor cell population.

The goals of my thesis will be to: (1) characterize Osterix reporter expression during skeletal development and (2) characterize the bone marrow cell population expressing the Osterix reporter gene.

Top 5 Awards and honors (name of award, date received): 

ODET/ Brigham T-32 Postdoctoral Training Grant, June 2015
IADR Hatton Finalist, 2013
ASBMR Plenary Poster Award, 2012
ASBMR Endocrine Fellows Award, 2012
UCONN T-90 Training Grant Recipient, 2009

5 Recent Papers: 

Wang W*, Strecker S*, Liu Y, Wang L, Assanah F, Smith S, Maye P. (2015) "Connective Tissue Growth Factor reporter mice label a subpopulation of mesenchymal progenitor cells that reside in the trabecular bone region." Bone Feb;71C:76-88





Liu Y, Strecker S, Wang L, Kronenberg M, Wang W, Rowe D, Maye P.  (2013) "Osterix-Cre Labeled Progenitor Cells Contribute to the Formation and Maintenance of the Bone Marrow Stroma." PLoS One. Aug 8;8(8):e71318 

Strecker S, Fu Y, Liu Y, Maye P. Generation and Characterization of the Osterix mCherry Mouse Model.  Genesis 2012 Nov.

Strecker S, Liu Y, Wang L., Rowe D, Maye P. (2011). "Mouse Bone Marrow Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells". In M. Hayat, Stem Cells and Cancer Stem Cells: Therapeutic Application in Disease and Injury. New York City: Springer.

Chen IP, Wang CJ, Strecker S, Koczon-Jaremko B, Boskev A, Reichenberger, EJ.(2009) "Introduction of a Phe377del mutation in ANK creates a mouse model for craniometaphyseal dysplasia."  J Bone Miner Res.  Jul (7):1206-15.

Contact Information:
45 Carlton Street