Teitelbaum receives MERIT award to extend research

Steven L. Teitelbaum, M.D., has been awarded a $1.71 million MERIT award from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The grant will support up to five years of research with the expectation of additional years of funding.

MERIT (Method to Extend Research in Time) awards provide long-term grant support to outstanding investigators with the opportunity for long-term stable support to foster continued scientific creativity and to minimize the administrative burdens associated with preparing and submitting grant applications. Recipients are identified by the NIH to receive MERIT status.


Teitelbaum, the Wilma and Roswell Messing Professor of Pathology and Immunology, is an expert on the normal biology and pathology of bone.

Teitelbaum studies how bone cells called osteoclasts cause localized destruction of bone during normal remodeling and disease. He has found that these cells produce a local pocket of acidity at sites in need of remodeling, permitting bone degradation. He also has shown that osteoclasts attach to the acidic sites using a specific receptor. Based on this finding, he developed an inhibitor of this interaction that prevents postmenopausal osteoporosis from developing in rats, which may lead to a treatment for human osteoporosis.

With the grant funding, Teitelbaum will continue studying how osteoclasts resorb bone, leading to diseases such as osteoporosis, bone tumor metastasis and weakening of the bone surrounding a joint implant, or osteolysis.