Molecular Endocrinology and Musculoskeletal Research Group
+61 3 94965507
Our research focusses on understanding the physiological actions of hormones to regulate the musculoskeletal system and fat metabolism with a particular focus on the sex steroids and calcitonin. Our research uses the combination of physiology and novel cutting-edge genetically modified pre-clinical models to provide insight into the cellular and molecular pathways through which hormones act with the goal to identify new pathways for the treatment of the highly prevalent musculoskeletal and metabolic diseases, osteoporosis and obesity respectively. In addition, we are investigating the effects of gender affirming hormone therapy administered during puberty and in adulthood on bone cell metabolism, structure and strength which has important implications for maintaining the bone health of transgender people.
Our laboratory uses a range of techniques including microcomputed tomography (microCT), bone histomorphometry, histology and immunohistochemistry, in addition to a wide range of biochemical and molecular analyses. Our laboratory is responsible for management of a state-of-the-art high resolution 1272 Bruker micro-CT scanner, which is available for use by Austin Health, The University of Melbourne and external users.
- Determining the mechanism by which the male sex hormone, testosterone, acts to decrease fat mass.
- Investigating the effects of gender affirming hormone therapy administered during uberty and adulthood on bone metabolism, microstructure and strength.
- Determining the contribution of the aromatisation of testosterone to estradiol within bone for maintaining skeletal integrity and bone strength.
- Characterising the physiological role of the calcitonin receptor in bone and calcium homeostasis.
Read more about Rachel's work below: (Keep as is)
- 'Hormones and Bones', A/Prof Rachel Davey discusses her research into metabolic bone diseases which has a focus on the physiological role of hormones to increase new bone growth.
- 'Hope for older men', A/Prof Rachel Davey presents her research into discovering a new pathway tor reduce weight gain in men with low testosterone levels.
- Dr Varun Venkatesh, Post doctoral Scientist
- Ms Sue Golub, Senior Research Assistant
- Ms Tian Nie, PhD student
- Dr Haniyeh Hemmatian, Honorary Visting Academic
- Professor Jeffrey Zajac
- Professor Mathis Grossmann
- Associate Professor Kathryn Stok, Dept of Biomedical Engineering, University of Melbourne.
- Professor David Handlesman and Dr Reena Desai, ANZAC Research Institute, NSW.
- Professor David Findlay, Dept of Orthopaedics and Trauma, University of Adelaide, SA, Australia.
- Professor Jack Jhamandas, University of Alberta, Canada.
- Dr Svetlana Reilly, University of Oxford, UK.
- Professor Merry-Jo Oursler, Mayo Clinic, Minnesota, USA.
- Professor Kristine Wiren, Oregon Health and Sciences University, Oregon, USA.
- Dr Ajith Vasanthakumar and Dr Axel Kallies, Peter Doherty Institute, Vic, Australia
- Ian Potter Foundation
- Sir Edward Dunlop Medical Research Foundation
- Austin Health Medical Research Foundation
- The Les and Eva Erdi Humanitarian Charitable Foundation
- H.T. Pamphilon Fund
- The AR in bone marrow progenitor cells protects against short-term high-caloric diet-induced weight gain in male mice. Venkatesh V, Russell PK, Fam White B, Clarke MV, Golub S, Mangiofico S, Haralambous C, Lokan J, Andrikopoulos S, Zajac JD, Davey RA. J Mol Endocrinol, 69(1), pp. 269-283. doi:10.1530/JME-22-0038
- The role of the androgen receptor in the pathogenesis of obesity and its utility as a target for obesity treatments. Venkatesh V, Grossmann M, Davey RA. Obesity Reviews, 23(6), pp. 21-. doi:10.1111/obr.13429
- Changes in white adipose tissue gene expression in a randomized control trial of dieting obese men with lowered serum testosterone alone or in combination with testosterone treatment. Venkatesh V, Grossmann M, Davey RA. Endocrine, 73(2), pp. 463-471. doi:10.1007/s12020-021-02722-0
- The calcitonin receptor regulates osteocyte lacunae acidity during lactation in mice. Davey RA, Clarke MV, Golub S, Russell PK, Zajac JD. Journal of Endocrinology, 249(1), pp. 31-41. doi:10.1530/JOE-20-0599
- The androgen receptor in the hypothalamus positively regulates hind-limb muscle mass and voluntary activity in male mice. Clarke MV, Russell PK, Zajac JD, Davey RA. Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2019 189:187-194.
- The androgen receptor in bone marrow progenitor cells negatively regulates fat mass. Russell PK, Mangiafico S, Fam BC, Clarke MV, Marin ES, Andrikopoulos S, Wiren KM, Zajac JD, Davey RA. Journal of Endocrinology, 2018, 237(1):15-27.
- Actin alpha cardiac muscle1 gene expression is upregulated in the skeletal muscle of men undergoing androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer. Cheung AS, de Rooy C, Levinger I, Rana K, Clarke MV, How JM, Garnham A, McLean C, Zajac JD, Davey RA*, Grossmann MG* (*Equal senior authors). Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2017, 174:56-64.
- Androgen action via the Androgen Receptor in neurons within the brain positively regulates muscle mass in male mice. Davey RA, Clarke MV, Russell PK, Rana K, Seto J, Roeszler KN, How JMY, Chia LY, North K, Zajac JD. Endocrinology, 2017, 158(10):3684-3695.
- Androgen Receptor Structure, Function and Biology: From Bench to Bedside. Davey RA and Grossmann M. The Clinical Biochemist Reviews, 2016, 37(1):3-15.
- A role for the calcitonin receptor to limit bone loss during lactation in female mice by inhibiting osteocytic osteolysis. Clarke MV, Russell PK, Findlay DM, Sastra S, Anderson PH, Skinner JP, Atkins GJ, Zajac JD, Davey RA. Endocrinology, 2015, 156(9):3203-3214.
- Androgen receptor action in osteoblasts in male mice is dependent on their stage of maturation. Russell PK, Clarke MV, Cheong K, Anderson PH, Morris HA, Wiren KM, Zajac JD, Davey RA. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 2015, 30(5): 809-823.
- Calcitonin – Physiology or Fantasy? Davey RA and Findlay DM. The Journal of Bone and Mineral Research Invited Review. 2013, 28(5): 973-979.
- A physiological role for androgen actions in the absence of androgen receptor DNA binding activity. Pang TPS, Clarke MV, Ghasem-Zadeh A, Lee NKL, Davey RA*, MacLean* (Equal senior authors). Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, 2012, 348: 189-197.
- The role of the calcitonin receptor in protecting against induced hypercalcemia is mediated via its actions in osteoclasts to inhibit bone resorption. Turner AG, Tjahyono F, Chiu WSM, Skinner J, Sawyer R, Moore AJ, Morris HA, Findlay DM, Zajac JD, Davey RA. Bone 2011, 48, 354-361.
- DNA-binding-dependent androgen receptor signaling contributes to gender differences and has physiological actions in males and females. MacLean HE, Moore AJ, Sastra SA, Morris HA, Ghasem-Zadeh A, Rana K, Axell AM, Notini AJ, Handelsman DJ, Seeman E, Zajac JD, Davey RA. Journal of Endocrinology 2010, 206, 93-103.
- Mineralization and Bone Resorption are Regulated by the Androgen Receptor in Male Mice. Chiang C, Chiu MWS, Moore AJ, Ghasem-Zadeh A, McManus JF, Ma C, Doust EA, Seeman E, Clemens T, Morris HA, Zajac JD, Davey RA. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research 2009 24(4), 621-631.
- The Calcitonin Receptor Plays a Physiological Role to Protect Against Hypercalcemia in Mice. Davey RA, Turner A, McManus JF, Chiu MWS, Tjahyono F, Moore AJ, Atkins GJ, Anderson PH, Ma C, Glatt V, MacLean HE, Vincent C, Bouxsein M, Morris HA, Findlay DM, Zajac JD. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 2008 23(8):1182-93.
- Osteoblast-specific deletion of exon 3 of the androgen receptor gene results in trabecular bone loss in adult male mice. Notini AJ, McManus JF, Moore AJ, Bouxsein M, Jimenez M, Chiu WSM, Glatt V, Kream BE, Handelsman DJ, Morris HA, Zajac JD, Davey RA. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 2007 22(3):347-56.
- Transgenic mice that express Cre recombinase in osteoclasts. Chiu WSM, McManus JF, Notini AJ Cassady AI, Zajac JD and Davey RA. Genesis, 39 (3) 2004, 178-85.
- Amylin inhibits bone resorption while the calcitonin receptor controls bone formation in vivo. Davey RA*, Dacquin R*, Laplace C, LevasseurR., Morris HA, Goldring SR, Gebre-Medhin S, Galson DL, Zajac JD and Karsenty G. (*Equal first authors) Journal of Cell Biology, 164 (4) 2004, 509-514.