UConn HealthCenter for Regenerative Medicine and Skeletal Development

Faculty Information


Peter Maye, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Contact Information

Peter Maye, Ph.D.
Center for Regenerative Medicine and
Skeletal Development
Department of Reconstructive Sciences
UConn Health
263 Farmington Avenue
Farmington, CT 06030
Phone: 860-679-7347
Fax: 860-679-2910
Email: pmaye@uchc.edu

Research Interests

The central goal of my work is to identify progenitor cell types with therapeutic potential to repair skeletal damage. A necessary component of this work is to develop strategies to isolate progenitor cell populations and demonstrate their ability to terminally differentiate into skeletal tissues. To this end, we utilize BACs and bacterial recombination strategies to genetically engineer mice and embryonic stem cells in a manner that allows us to mark, isolate and determine the osteogenic potential of distinct progenitor cell types.

Currently, my lab is focused on two projects described below.

Project 1: Bone Marrow Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells (BM-MSCs) and Their Osteogenic Derivatives
We have developed a methodology to isolate BM-MSCs and their early osteogenic progenitors from primary cultures. We define this cell population as BM-MSCs based on their ability to differentiate into osteoblasts, chondrocytes, or adipocytes using defined culture conditions. Moreover, in collaboration with Dr. Rowe, we have demonstrated the therapeutic potential of isolated BM-MSCs to repair skeletal defects in a parietal bone transplantation model. We have also developed animal models that allow us to identify and isolate the osteogenic derivatives of BM-MSCs.

Future avenues of research include:

  • Determining the appropriate culture environment to maintain BM-MSCs as pluripotent cells.
  • Comparing the osteogenic repair potential of BM-MSCs to their osteogenic derivatives.
  • Determining the longevity of different progenitor cell populations after transplantation.
  • Identifying key signaling molecules that regulate the osteogenic differentiation of BM-MSCs.

Project 2: Embryonic Stem (ES) Cell Differentiation Along the Axial Skeletal Lineage
With the isolation of human ES cells and the conversion of adult somatic cells into induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs), there is a heightened interest in understanding how to direct the differentiation of ES cells down various cell lineages. The generation of skeletal progenitors from ES cells in vitro is a poorly understood process. The reason for this is largely due to the significant experimental limitations that exist, including an inability to identify and isolate skeletal progenitors from differentiated ES cell cultures. Furthermore, there is no way to demonstrate their skeletal potential by transplantation. Thus, it remains difficult to carryout any meaningful studies that demonstrate the therapeutic value of ES cell derivatives with regards to skeletal repair.

To overcome these experimental limitations, our current focus is on the generation of mouse ES cell models that will allow us to identify progenitor cell types and mature osteoblasts and chondrocytes. Our strategy involves the multiplexing of fluorescent protein reporters, which will allow us to view multiple reporter genes within the same ES cell line. Once generated, these murine based ES cell models will facilitate our ability to study the differentiation of ES cells into cell types that contribute to the formation of bone and cartilage. 

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Selected Publications

Maye P, Becker S, Kasameyer E, Byrd N, Grabel L., 2000. Indian hedgehog signaling in extraembryonic endoderm and ectoderm differentiation in ES embryoid bodies. Mechanisms of Development 94 (1-2):117-132.

Maye P, Becker S, Siemen H, Thorne J, Byrd N, Carpentino J, Grabel L., 2004. Hedgehog signaling is required for the differentiation of ES cells into neurectoderm. Developmental Biology 265 (1):276-290.

Maye, P., Zheng, J., Li, L., and Wu, D., 2004. Multiple mechanisms for Wnt11-mediated repression of the canonical Wnt signaling pathway. Journal of Biological Chemistry 279(23):24659-24665.

Kalajzic, I., Staal, A., Yang, WP., Wu, Y., Johnson, SE., Feyen, JH., Krueger, W., Maye, P., Yu, F., Zhao, Y., Kuo, L., Gupta, RR., Achenie, LE., Wang, HW., Shin, DG., and Rowe, D.W., 2005. Expression profile of osteoblast lineage at defined stages of differentiation. Journal of Biological Chemistry 280(26):24618-26.

Jiang, X., Kalajzi, Z., Maye, P., Braut, A., Bellizzi, J., Mina, M., and Rowe, DW., 2005 Histological analysis of GFP expression in murine bone. Journal of Histochemistry & Cytochemistry 53(5):593-602.

Li, X., Liu, P., Liu, W., Maye, P., Zhang, J., Zhang, Y., Hurley, M., Guo, C., Boskey, A., Sun, L., Harris, S.E., Rowe, D.W., Ke, H.Z., Wu, D., 2005. Dkk2 has a role in terminal osteoblast differentiation and mineralized matrix formation. Nature Genetics 37 (9):945.

Sawakami, K., Robling, AG., Ai, M., Pitner, ND., Liu, D., Warden, SJ., Li, J., Maye, P., Rowe, DW., Duncan, RL., Warman, ML., Turner, CH. 2006. The Wnt co-receptor LRP5 is essential for skeletal mechanotransduction but not for the anabolic bone response to parathyroid hormone treatment. Journal of Biological Chemistry 281(33):23698-711.

Boban,I., Jacquin, C., Prior, K., Barisic-Dujmovic, T., Maye, P., Clark, SH., Aguila, HL. 2006. The 3.6 kb DNA fragment from the rat Col1a1 gene promoter drives the expression of genes in both osteoblast and osteoclast lineage cells. Bone 39(6):1302-12.

Wang, YH., Liu, Y., Maye, P., Rowe, DW. 2006. Examination of mineralized nodule formation in living osteoblastic cultures using fluorescent dyes. Biotechnology Progress 22(6):1697-701.

Paper icon View more publications, see Pubmed listing.

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Current Funding

“Importance of Beta-Catenin Signaling in Osteocytes Associated with Anabolic Bone Load,” (Kotha. S.P., PI) (Maye, P., Co-PI) August 1, 2008 through May 31, 2013. The goal of this proposal is to understand the temporal and spatial activation of beta-catenin in response to anabolic load.

“GFP Reporters for the Chondrocyte Lineage,” (Rowe DW, PI) (Maye, P., Co-PI). July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2010. The major goals of this project are to create transgenic animal models that retain fluorescent protein gene reporters to mark cell populations that contribute to skeletal joint formation.

“Creating Multi-Gene Reporter Mice Via Recombineering,” (Lichtler AC, PI)(Maye, P., Co-PI) July 1, 2006 through July 31, 2009. The major goals of this project are to create a transgenic animal model that retains multiple fluorescent protein gene reporters identifying osteoblasts, osteocytes, and osteoclasts.

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More Information

Ph.D., Wesleyan University

Student and Postdoctoral Research Opportunities
Peter Maye is a faculty member in the Skeletal, Craniofacial and Oral Biology Graduate Program.

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Laboratory Staff
Yaling Liu
Research Assistant
Phone: 860-679-3895
Email: yliu@uchc.edu
Yu (Jade) Fu
Postdoctoral Fellow
Phone: 860-679-3895
Email: yufu@uchc.edu
Sara Strecker
Graduate Student
Phone: 860-679-3895
Email: sstrecker@uchc.edu


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