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Lara Longobardi, PhD

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology

Specialty Areas: Role of MCP5/MCP1 and their receptor CCR2 in cartilage and bone degeneration during post-traumatic osteoarthritis (OA), using a murine model based on the destabilization of medial meniscus. Associations between different chemokine/cytokine biomarkers and knee OA outcomes during osteoarthritis development. (The Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project in collaboration with Dr. Joanne Jordan, TARC). Testing the effect of different antiangiogenic synthesized small molecules on joint inflammation in murine models of osteoarthritis (Collagenase Induced, CO; and Monosodium Iodoacetate induced arthritis, MIA) and rheumatoid arthritis (Collagen Induced Arthritis, CIA). (Collaboration with the Peng Liu, TARC and Rosanna Filosa, Second University of Naples, Italy).

Chronology: BS Cum Laude: Federico II University, 1996; Ph.D., Second University of Naples, Italy, 1996-2001; Research Scholar, Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU), Oak Ridge, TN, USA, 1999-2000; Post-Doctoral Fellow at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA, 2002-2006; Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Chapel Hill, NC, USA, 2007-July 2015; Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC, USA. August 2015-present.

Description of research and/or clinical interests: Dr. Longobardi’s research studies signal pathways involved in degenerative diseases, such as osteoarthritis (OA), as well as inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Specifically, her main laboratory-based project focuses on the role of inflammatory chemokines and cytokines in joint tissue degeneration following trauma. Dr. Longobardi use a murine model of post-traumatic OA based on the destabilization of the medial meniscus and analyzes whether blockade of chemokine signaling by antagonizing their receptors at different times during the disease affects cartilage, bone and pain measurement post-injury. These findings are critical in arthritis research as they can lead to develop novel therapeutic approaches to treatment.

Selected Bibliography:

  1. L. Longobardi, M. Torello, C. Buckway, L. O’Rear, W. A. Horton, V. Hwa, C. T. Roberts, JR., F. Chiarelli, R. G. Rosenfeld, and A. Spagnoli (2003). A Novel Insulin-Like Growth Factor (IGF)-Independent Role for IGF Binding Protein-3 in Mesenchymal Chondroprogenitor Cell Apoptosis. Endocrinology 144(5):1695-1702
  1. L. Longobardi, L. O’Rear, S. Aakula, B. Johnstone, K. Shimer, A. Chytil, W. A. Horton, H. L. Moses, and A. Spagnoli (2006). Effect of IGF-I in the Chondrogenesis of Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stem Cells in the Presence or Absence of TGF-ß Signaling. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. 21(4):626-636
  1. A. Spagnoli, L. O’Rear, R. L. Chandler, F. Granero-Molto, D. P. Mortlock, A. E. Gorska, J.A. Weis, L. Longobardi, A. Chytil, K. Shimer, H. L. Moses (2007). TGF-ß Signaling is Essential for Joint Morphogenesis. Journal of Cell Biology. 177(6):1105-17.
  2. L. Longobardi , T. Li, T.J. Myers, L. O’Rear, H. Ozkan, Y. Li, C. Contaldo, A. Spagnoli. (2012). TGF-β Type II Receptor/MCP-5 Axis: At the Crossroad between Joint and Growth Plate Development. Dev. Cell. 17;23(1):71-81.
  3. T. Li, L. Longobardi , T.J. Myers, J.D. Temple, R.L. Chandler, H. Ozkan, C. Contaldo, A. Spagnoli. (2013).Joint TGF-β Type II Receptor Expressing Cells: Ontogeny and Characterization as Joint Progenitors. Stem Cells and Dev. 1;22(9):1342-59.
  4. L. Longobardi, T. Li, J.D. Temple, L. Tagliafierro, H.H. Willcockson, P.Ye, A. Esposito, F. Xu, and A. Spagnoli (2014). Synovial Joints: from Development to Homeostasis. Current Osteoporosis Report. 13(1):41-51. Review
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