Regina Brunauer

Research Assistant Professor

Phone: (979) 845-1730
Email: [email protected]

About Me

Focus Areas

Research

Teaching

Trainees

Publications

Education:

  • PhD – Biology of Aging, Institute for Biomedical Aging Research, Medical University Innsbruck, Austria, 2011
  • MS – Genetics and Biotechnology, University of Salzburg, Austria, 2006
  • BS – Genetics and Molecular Biology, University of Salzburg, Austria, 2003

My research revolves around the question how and why we age, and more specifically, how aging affects the regenerative abilities of skeletal tissues. During my master’s and PhD thesis, I explored the age-related functional decline of human mesenchymal stem cells, the progenitor cells for bone, cartilage and adipose tissue, and connections to the aging immune system. I continued my studies at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Novato, California, where I investigated whether progeria, a disease of accelerated aging, is associated with decreased mesenchymal stem cell function in mice.

science art

In order to complement my in vitro cell culture approaches with an in vivo model for regeneration, I joined Dr. Ken Muneoka’s laboratory, a pioneer in understanding digit regeneration in mammals at Texas A&M University. Mice and humans regenerate part of their distalmost digit tip following amputation, using similar mechanisms as observed in salamander limb regeneration. I have recently found that aging attenuates regeneration in this model. As an independent researcher, I am now investigating the impact of aging on mechanisms of bone regeneration in the mouse digit.

Awards and distinctions:

  • Young Investigator Initiative – US Bone and Joint Initiative, 2018
  • CVM Postdoctoral trainee research grant on the effect of aging on mammalian digit regeneration, Texas A&M University, 2017
  • Frontiers in Stem Cells and Regeneration, MBL, Woods Hole, MA, 2014
  • Scientist as Artist award, Buck Institute for Research on Aging, CA, 2013
  • Walter Doberauer Prize for Aging Research, Austria, 2010
  • Biology of Aging
  • Regeneration
  • Stem Cell Aging

As we age, bone repair slows down or is even inhibited. I am interested in the underlying mechanisms of age-related decline in bone regeneration. Interestingly, mice regenerate their digit tips when amputated to a certain level. Using micro–computed tomography (microCT) and immunohistochemistry as main experimental tools, we study this regenerative response in young and old mice, as well as in a mouse model of accelerated aging (progeria). The ultimate goal of these studies is to understand why bone regeneration is impaired at advanced age, in order to identify targets and therapeutic windows to accelerate bone healing and thereby improve the quality of life of the elderly.

Regina Brunauer is not accepting trainees at this time.