Researcher’s Profile

Gerard Karsenty, MD, PhD

Chair, Genetics and Development Department

Gerard Karsenty M.D., Ph.D., is the Paul A. Marks M.D., Professor and Chair of the Department of Genetics and Development at Columbia University Medical center, New York City. In the last 20 years, his laboratory has studied every aspect of skeletal biology ranging from development to physiology. His laboratory deciphered the molecular bases of osteoblast-specific gene expression, a work that culminated in his identification of Runx2 as the master gene of osteoblast differentiation. This was followed by the identification of an entire cascade of transcription factors regulating osteoblast differentiation and of Gm2 as the master gene of parathyroid gland development. In approaching bone physiology Karsenty proposed that there is a coordinated control endocrine in nature, of bone mass, energy metabolism and fertility. The Karsenty lab has verified in the mouse and whenever possible in humans all tenets of this hypothesis. One of them is that bone should be an endocrine organ regulating energy metabolism and reproduction. This led to the identification of osteocalcin as a bone-derived hormone needed for insulin secretion, glucose homeostasis, testosterone secretion by Leydig cells of the testes and male fertility, brain development cognition and adaptation to exercise. Currently his work focuses through the definition of all functions of osteocalcin in understanding why would bone be an endocrine organ.


Genetics to understand Development, Physiology and Pathogenesis of all diseases

Lab Members: 
Paula Mera, Postdoctoral Research Scientist in the Department
Arnaud J. Obri, Postdoctoral Research Scientist in the Department
Lori Khrimian, Postdoctoral Research Scientist in the Department
Theodoros Karnavas, Postdoctoral Research Scientist in the Department
Subrata Chowdhury, Postdoctoral Research Science in the Department
Hong Liu, Dr. Research Worker
Julian Meyer Berger, Student, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

1: Lee NK, Sowa H, Hinoi E, Ferron M, Ahn JD, Confavreux C, Dacquin R, Mee PJ, McKee MD, Jung DY, Zhang Z, Kim JK, Mauvais-Jarvis F, Ducy P, Karsenty G. Endocrine regulation of energy metabolism by the skeleton. Cell. 2007 Aug 10;130(3):456-69. 

2: Ferron M, Wei J, Yoshizawa T, Del Fattore A, DePinho RA, Teti A, Ducy P, Karsenty G. Insulin signaling in osteoblasts integrates bone remodeling and energy metabolism. Cell. 2010 Jul 23;142(2):296-308. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2010.06.003. 

3: Oury F, Sumara G, Sumara O, Ferron M, Chang H, Smith CE, Hermo L, Suarez S, Roth BL, Ducy P, Karsenty G. Endocrine regulation of male fertility by the skeleton. Cell. 2011 Mar 4;144(5):796-809. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2011.02.004. Epub 2011 Feb 17.

4: Oury F, Khrimian L, Denny CA, Gardin A, Chamouni A, Goeden N, Huang YY, Lee H, Srinivas P, Gao XB, Suyama S, Langer T, Mann JJ, Horvath TL, Bonnin A, Karsenty, G. Maternal and offspring pools of osteocalcin influence brain development and functions. Cell. 2013 Sep 26;155(1):228-41. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2013.08.042.

5: Wei J, Shimazu J, Makinistoglu M, Maurizi A, Kajimura D, Zong H, Takarada T, Iezaki T, Pessin JE, Hinoi E, and Karsenty G. Glucose uptake and Runx2 synergize to orchestrate osteoblast differentiation and bone formation. Cell. 2015 161 (7): 1576-91.

6: Mera P, Laue K, Ferron M, Confavreux C, Wei J, Galan-Diez M, Lacampagne A, Mitchell SJ, Mattison JA, Chen Y, Bacchetta J, Szulc P, Kitsis RN, de Cabo R, Friedman RA, Torsitano C, McGraw TE, Puchowicz M, Kurland I and Karsenty G. Osteocalcin signaling in myofibers is necessary and sufficient for optimum adaptation to exercise. Cell Metab. 2016 23 (6):1078-92.