Samantha McGoldrick

Biomedical Engineering, Ph.D. Candidate

While mineralization is an important component of osteogenesis, pathological mineralization in soft tissues impairs tissue structure and function. Pathological mineralization can affect a variety of tissue types, e.g. vasculature calcification, kidney stones, bone metastases, calcification of articular cartilage in osteoarthritis. However, the underlying mechanism for pathological mineralization is poorly understood, making it difficult to predict when and where unwanted mineral deposits will form. 

The Kohn Lab discovered the mineral-binding peptide VTK for its high affinity to hydroxyapatite, bone-like mineral, and bone itself. When phosphorylated, pVTK demonstrates increased affinity for mineralized substrates and, interestingly, the ability to inhibit mineralization in differentiating osteoblast cultures. We are currently investigating the use of pVTK as a therapeutic to inhibit and/or halt progression of pathological mineralization, specifically fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva and trauma-induced heterotopic ossification.