Faculty Research Spotlight
Dr. Andronowski's Research
Research in the Andronowski lab focuses on the high-resolution 3D imaging of bone microstructure and the related study of bone adaptation, aging, and disease. I use virtual histology (e.g., Micro-computed Tomography and synchrotron-based imaging) to study bone in new ways and answer questions related to human anatomy, human health, and forensic anthropology. In applying 3D imaging techniques to examine microscopic features of human compact and spongy bone, we can further understand the process of bone turnover and how it is related to age-associated bone affecting conditions such as osteoporosis, and bone aging in general.
What kinds of technical expertise do students who work in your lab gain?
Graduate and undergraduate students in my lab assist in using the Biomedical Imaging and Therapy ID beamlines at the Canadian Light Source (CLS) national synchrotron facility to image bone specimens in 3D. Ongoing projects include: (1) evaluating sex-related differences in the human bone cellular network across the lifespan to understand age-associated differences in its microarchitecture, and (2) human parathyroid hormone (PTH) dosing as a model system for tracking bone remodeling in the rabbit. Involvement in experiments at the CLS is invaluable to young scholars as it provides opportunities to interact with researchers from all over the world. It further introduces them to new experimental protocols and synchrotron techniques that will benefit their development as biomedical researchers.
My hard-tissue histology lab at the University of Akron is also equipped with a custom-built computer workstation complete with cutting-edge 3D rendering software, two low-speed precision sectioning saws, a Grinder/Polisher unit, light microscope with fluorescence and Differential Interference Contrast (DIC), microscope digital camera with image capturing software, and many other small pieces of equipment and fluorescent dyes for imaging. All students in the Andronowski lab are trained to use each instrument, think critically, solve problems, and work as part of a collaborative team.
What is the best part of working at the University of Akron?
I am most fortunate to pursue my research program and teach among the talented and dedicated professors in the Department of Biology. They each conduct innovative research and contribute to a cohesive and supportive environment for our faculty and students. The undergraduate students with whom I work have also distinguished themselves as highly motivated through their valuable participation in both lecture and lab courses. The foundational course I teach, Human Anatomy for Biology Majors, is unique as it uses human cadavers as a tool by which to understand the spatial and functional relationships among organs, tissues, and systems of the body. The students always act responsibly, respectfully, and professionally throughout the semester when studying the donated human remains. I look forward to seeing these students apply their honest and ethical demeanors to future careers as health professionals and biomedical researchers.
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