Elena Ambrogini, M.D., Ph.D. – Project Leader

Title: Role of natural antibodies against oxidation specific epitopes in bone homeostasis

The overall goal of this project is to investigate the role of natural antibodies against products of lipid peroxidation, called oxidation specific epitopes (OSEs), in bone homeostasis. OSEs pathogenic in several diseases including osteoporosis and atherosclerosis and antibodies produced by the innate immune system counteract their effect. This work will elucidate the cellular and molecular mechanisms that mediate the bone anabolic action of these antibodies and will investigate a potential novel therapeutic approach to the management of osteoporosis (and atherosclerosis simultaneously).

Elena Ambrogini M.D., Ph.D., received her Medical Degree and Ph.D. in Endocrine and Metabolic Sciences from the University of Pisa in Italy. Dr. Ambrogini completed a Residency in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of Pisa, a Residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Endocrinology and Metabolism at UAMS. In addition, she completed a post-doctoral research fellowship in the Division of Endocrinology at UAMS. She is currently a staff Endocrinology Physician at the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System and an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Endocrinology Division at UAMS. She has received the ASBMR Felix Bronner Young Investigator Award for the top ranked abstract by a young investigator at the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research in 2010 and the Thomas E. Andreoli Award for excellence in internal medicine in 2013.

Dr. Ambrogini’s Mentors

Stavros Manolagas, M.D., Ph.D. Dr. Manolagas is the Thomas E. Andreoli M.D., MACP, Clinical Scholar Chair in Internal Medicine, Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Director of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism in the Department of Internal Medicine, Vice Chair of Research for the Department of Internal Medicine, and Director of the UAMS Osteoporosis and Metabolic Bone Diseases Center.

Lee Ann MacMillan-Crow, Ph.D. Dr. MacMillan-Crow received her Ph.D. (Pharmacology/Toxicology) from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1994 and moved to UAMS in 2003. has a long-term interest in oxidant generation and mitochondrial damage during renal ischemia/reperfusion, as it relates to transplantation injury. The laboratory is currently focusing on elucidation of specific pathways involved with mitochondrial quality control (especially the fusion pathway) that are altered during renal transplantation. In addition, we are examining the therapeutic potential of several agents to block renal mitochondrial injury during warm and cold ischemia, using cell and rat models of transplantation.

Joseph Witztum, M.D., Dr. Joseph L. Witztum is a Professor of Medicine and Director of the Specialized Center of Research in Molecular Medicine and Arteriosclerosis at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Witztum’s lab is interested in the mechanisms by which oxidation of lipoproteins cause atherosclerosis, and in particular how immune mechanisms contribute to this process.

Dr. Ambrogini was awarded a VA Merit Award grant on July 1, 2019. Based on successful competition for this independent award, Dr. Ambrogini has graduated from her status as leader of Project 1. Nonetheless, she continues to be a vital member of our center, serving as a mentor and collaborator for the remaining junior investigators as well as established members of the center.