Vicki Rosen, PhD
Research in Rosen Lab
Bone Morphogenetic Proteins (BMPs) are a family of secreted signaling molecules that transmit information between cells. All cells have BMP receptors and BMP signaling has a regulatory role in the formation of nearly all vertebrate organs and tissues. Gene expression programs initiated by BMP signaling are highly diverse, permitting the system to accommodate distinct transcriptional requirements of both quiescent stem cells and differentiated cells with complex physiological activity. Research in my lab is focused on understanding the roles of BMP signaling in development and maintenance of the skeleton (bone, cartilage, and associated connective tissues), a major site of human disease.
After receiving a PhD in cell biology/physiology and spending several years as a postdoc, I accepted my first real job as a scientist at a fledgling biotech company, Genetics Institute, in the fall of 1984. My project was to identify the factors present in bone that were responsible for bone formation. This idea, named bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) by Dr. Marshall Urist in 1965, had remained an ill-defined concept for many years. My colleagues and I were able to isolate the first BMPs genes and report on their activities in 1988 and to develop BMP2 as an FDA approved product for enhancing bone repair in 2002. I then moved to Harvard School of Dental Medicine, where my lab continues to focus on BMPs. I was appointed interim dean of the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, effective January 1, 2020.