Members of the Rubin Musculoskeletal Research Laboratory


Rubin, Clinton

Principal Investigator

Summary : Clint (middle-background) in NASA's DC-9 "vomit comet" testing the ability to deliver low magnitude mechanical signals to a subject during weightlessness.


Tuthill, Alyssa

Laboratory Manager

Summary : Alyssa is the lab mom who maintains the well-being of the Musculoskeletal Research Lab and its lab members. She is also a candy supplier (but No Eating in the Lab) and an animal lover (mouse, rat, bird, cat, dog and PANDA!).


Adler, Ben

Ph.D Student

Summary : Ben is interested in how the bone marrow microenvironment maintains and helps to regulate hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) and hematopoiesis. Diseases such as osteoporosis and obesity cause changes to this 'niche', and are associated with hematopoietic dysregulation. Ben is currently studying how systemic metabolic challenges such as obesity and diabetes affect the health and function of HSCs, and whether these effects can be prevented by methods which spare the bone marrow niche from damage. Low Intensity Vibrations (osteogenic stimuli which suppress adiposity) are studied for their potential to protect the niche from insults, thereby maintaining hematopoiesis in the face of disease.


Appiah-Nkansah, Kofi

MS Student

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Summary : Kofi is an M.S. student investigating the role of refractory periods in the response of bone, fat, and bone marrow-derived stem cells to low-magnitude mechanical signals in a mouse model. His previous education was at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA where he earned a degree in Bioengineering with a focus in Biopharmaceutical Engineering.


Chan, Ete

Post-Doctoral Research Associate

Summary : Ete started her post-doctoral training in Prof Rubin's lab in 2009 after obtaining her PhD from Columbia University. Her research interests are bone adaptation, mechnotransduction and osteoimmunology in normal and pathological conditions. After using a 3D bone explant model to study various mechanotransduction pathways between bone cells for her PhD thesis, she is now performing translational research using in vivo animal studies. With a particular focus on the bone marrow stem cell environment, she is currently using a murine model of diet-induced obesity to study how obesity affects the bone quality and quantity, as well as the immune system. Her study provides insights into the relationship between an increasing adipose burden on phenotypic and dysfunctional changes in bone marrow stem cell population, immune cells and the overall health (e.g., glucose intolerance in type 2 diabetes) during obesity. More interestingly, she showed that mechanical signals can be harnessed to mitigate these adverse effects by normalizing the hematopoietic stem cell differentiation pathways, implicating the potential of using a non-invasive, non-pharmacological means to treat consequences of obesity.


Green, Danielle

Ph.D. Student

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Summary : Danielle is a PhD student who is currently researching the relationship between cellular phenotypes in the bone marrow and bone micro-architectural quality by looking at an irradiated mouse model. She is also studying the effects of mechanical vibrations on the prevention of hematopoietic stem cell depletion in the bone marrow which could lead to preventative measures for people susceptible to bone loss.


Muir, Jesse

Ph.D. Student

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Summary : Jesse is a PhD student whose research focus is on postural stability and whole body vibration. He earned his undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University where he studied postural instability and diabetic neuropathy. He started his research with Dr. Rubin studying the effects of whole body vibration on bone loss in microgravity in a collaborative project with NASA. Later, he turned to the effects of vibration on postural control, and reducing fractures through reduction of fall risk. To achieve these goals, he has worked with many groups, including the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, studying the effects of vibration on children with cerebral palsy, the VA Hospital in the Bronx, looking at vibration in spinal chord injury, and with Harvard Medical School, studying the usage of vibration to improve bone strength and reducing fall risk in the elderly.


Pagnotti, Gabriel

Ph.D. Student

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Summary : Gabriel is currently a second-year Biomedical Engineering doctoral student at Stony Brook University with an undergraduate education in Electrical Engineering. Our research team is interested in studying the mechanisms driving the differentiation of precursor cells within the marrow toward a committed cell lineage with the use of mechanical signaling via low intensity vibrations (LIV). As cancer patients are typically subject to bone loss and are at potential risk of fracture, either due to the cancer itself or through pharmacological interventions, a means by which to preserve both bone strength and marrow quality would be ideal. Though the preservation of bone is the hallmark outcome of LIV, interrogation of marrow constituents such as the lymphocyte and mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) populations following LIV treatment has led him to focus largely on the effects of these signals in subjects inherently predisposed to developing pre-cancerous neoplastic tissue. Indications of a dedicated relationship between LIV and marrow-derived MSC's may hold clinical potential for slowing cancer progression and, thus, provide a non-invasive therapy for patients.


Pamon, Tee

Ph.D. Student

Summary : Tee is a PhD student interested in whether low intensity vibration can be used to improve postural stability in the elderly, with the goal of decreasing the incidence of fall related injuries in this population. His undergraduate studies were done at Stony Brook University, in the department of biomedical engineering and also completed a Master of Engineering degree at Cornell University with a specialization in biomechanics.


Patri, Nirukta

MS Student

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Summary : Nirukta is currently persuing an MS in Biomedical Engineering along side working in the lab of Dr. Clinton Rubin. She received an undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering from The Univerisity of Auckland, New Zealand after which she worked in the healthcare industry for about a year before deciding to persue her higher education. Her research is mainly focused on the quality of the alveolar bone when subjected to low intensity vibration. The clinical significance of her research is to determine a non-invasive long-term tooth retention in osteoporotic, diabetic and aged patients who are prone to weakening of the alveolar bone thereby causing tooth loss.


Botros, Mario

Undergraduate Researcher

Summary : Mario is an undergraduate biomedical engineering student who joined the lab spring semester 2010. He seems to be very interested in learing about bone and fat characteristics in the human body. His research in the lab mainly focuses on the effects of mechanical signal stimulus on the adiposity level in the body. Anything related to bone seems to excite him (his nickname among his friends is BONE)!!! He loves playing sports especially soccer and tennis.


Cheung, Michelle

Undergraduate Researcher

Summary : Michelle joined our Musculoskeletal Research lab in Stony Brook University since the spring semester of 2011. She has contributed to our work on understanding how the bone remodeling process (bone resorption by osteoclasts in particular) is disrupted in the long bone of diet-induced obese murine model. Furthermore, she investigated how whole body, low intensity vibrations could be adopted as an anabolic signals in reducing the accelerated bone loss resulted from obesity by reducing both the hematopoietic stem cell's commitment to osteoclastic lineage and the activation of osteoclasts.


Lennon, James

Undergraduate Researcher

Summary : James is an undergraduate biomedical engineering major. He is currently a junior and he transferred to Stony Brook from St. John's University after two years there. His area of interest is biomechanics, and he has been working in Dr. Rubin's lab since October 2010. Aside from academics he enjoys most sports, mainly football and basketball.


Tsoi, Ada

Undergraduate Researcher

Summary : Majoring in biomedical engineering at Stony Brook University, Ada has been working in the musculoskeletal research lab since fall 2009. She is observing the compensatory responses of bone and articular cartilage to increased loading through a diet-induced obesity model. Outside lab, Ada is an active club member as she is the webmaster of Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), recording secretary of tau beta pi and the secretary of Engineering World Health (EWH). She will be attending graduate school at Virginia Tech in Fall 2011.


Parigoris, Eric

High School Researcher

Summary : Eric is from Kings Park High School and has been a member our Musculoskeletal Research lab in Stony Brook University since February of 2011. He is helping our lab understand how murine macrophages respond to low intensity vibration in addition to Lipopolysaccharide (LPS), an endotoxin which activates macrophages. He is looking at the expression of inflammatory and anti-inflammatory genes and functional abilities of macrophages. Eric is also studying the effect of low intensity vibration, LPS, and a high fat diet in mice on the gene expression and nitric oxide production in the bone marrow cells.


Frechette, Danielle

Ph.D. Student

Summary : Dani just graduated in May 2011 from the University of Arkansas with her BS in Biological Engineering. She is attending Stony Brook University to obtain her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering. In the future she hopes to be involved in academia. She has strong interests in tissue engineering and cellular biomechanics. In her spare time Dani enjoys watching the Yankees, playing soccer, and trying new restaurants.


Krishna, Divya

Ph.D. Student

Summary : Divya just graduated from Carnegie Mellon University. She majored in materials science and biomedical engineering. She is a first year doctoral student and hopes to pursue academia in the future. Some of her research interests include musculoskeletal tissue engineering and mechanics. Outside of school she loves to play tennis and dance.


Nguyen, Denis

Undergraduate Student

Summary : Denis is a third year BME student on the cellular and molecular track. He joined the lab in August 2011 and is studying the effects of obesity on trabecular and cortical bone development. He enjoys playing tennis, running, and long boarding in his spare time.