Strengthening brittle bones


Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) or "brittle bone disease" can be caused by a range of proteins involved with the bone matrix. Children with OI are prone to fracture, which can reduce mobility, cause pain and disfigurement, and has a high associated morbidity.

Based at the Children's Hospital at Westmead, this project has the potential to make a significant impact on the quality of life for children born with this condition.


Associate Professor Aaron Schindeler, Professor David Little, Associate Professor Craig Munns

Research Location

Westmead - Kids Research Institute

Program Type



This project will focus on the application of drug, gene, and cell based therapies to treat osteogenesis imperfecta. We have established murine models of OI that can be used to test treatments, as well as models of fluorescent cell labelling and cell tracking that can be used to examine contributions of different populations to repair.

One approach we are looking at is using new bone drugs such as anti-sclerostin antibody to increase bone mass and strength in OI. Another approach is to use new in vivo gene modification techniques such as CRISPR to deactivate defective alleles. A third approach will be to deplete osteoprogenitors with the OI genetic defect and engrafting healthy stem cells.

The student will learn a range of techniques including 3D bone scanning techniques, confocal microscopy, working with genetically modified systems, cell culture, high-throughput sequencing, CRISPR and gene modification, and the culture of iPS cells (induced pluripotent stem cells) and other stem cell types.

We are looking for an enthusiastic, motivated student looking to undertake a PhD. A strong candidate will be able to work as part of a multidisciplinary research team and have strong written/oral communication skills. The capacity to attract an independent scholarship (first class honours, prior publications) will be looked upon extremely favourably.

Additional Information

PhD scholarships/APA top-ups available to be judged based on the strength of the applicant. For more information contact Dr Aaron Schindeler on + 61 2 9845 1451

Want to find out more?

Contact us to find out what’s involved in applying for a PhD. Domestic students and International students

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protein, Bone, Paediatrics, Genes

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 181

Other opportunities with Associate Professor Aaron Schindeler

Other opportunities with Associate Professor Craig Munns