McGill University | Montreal, Quebec

Learn more Contact Us

About Us

Osteoclasts are the cells responsible for bone destruction in many diseases such as osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, periodontitis and bone metastases. We study how osteoclast formation, activity and survival are regulated in physiological and pathological situations. In addition, we are interested in understanding the interactions between osteoclasts and their anatomical neighbors, such as osteoblasts, hematopoetic cells and invading cancer cells. 

Main research themes:

  • Regulation of osteoclasts, osteoblasts and their interaction
  • Regulation of energy metabolism during osteoclast lifespan
  • Mathematical modeling of bone homeostasis
  • Metastatic cancer and bone cells
  • Osteoclasts in arthritis
  • Effect of biomaterials on bone cells
  • Regulation of cytosolic free calcium concentration in osteoclasts and other cells

Lab Members

Svetlana Komarova

Dr Svetlana Komarova - Associate Professor

Education: I completed my undergraduate education in physics at the Moscow State University, Russia, and obtained a doctorate in biophysics from the Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Biophysics, Pushchino, Russia. I received postdoctoral training at NASA Ames Research Center, University of Cincinnati and University of Western Ontario. Now, I am a tenured Associate Professor in the Faculty of Dentistry, McGill University. I am also cross-appointed to the Departments of Anatomy and Cell Biology and Biomedical Engineering at McGill.

Research Interests: I would widely define my research interest as bone-centered physiology. I am really interested in understanding how mechanical, biochemical, and cellular microenvironment shapes the function of bone cells; and how the function of bone cells in turn alters micro- and macroenvironment of the organism. We use live cell imaging, cell and molecular biology as well as in vivo approaches to study cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions in the bone microenvironment, the role of mechanical forces in regulating bone cells, and the consequences of altered bone resorption for the whole body physiology. In addition, I aim to develop computational support for our projects, including quantitative literature reviews, mathematical models to help in understanding the complex interactions we study, and computational tools for data analysis.

Full Published Work: Click Here

Svetlana Komarova

Gulzhakhan Sadvakassova - Research Assistant

I have received my Honors M.Sc. degree from the Kazakh State University and my PhD degree from the Institute of Molecular Biology and biochemistry of the Kazakh Academy of Science.

In Dr. Komarova's lab, I am working on the effect of the actively proliferating (blood and cancer) cells on bone remodeling. Identification of factors produced by these cells and corresponding mechanisms of action is the area of my research.

Full Published Work: Click Here

Kerstin Tiedemann - Research Associate

I have a PhD in Biochemistry from Lund University in Sweden. I am involved in project development and teaching of undergraduate and graduate students. My main interest is the extracellular matrix and how it regulates bone remodeling and modeling in health and disease using in vitro and in vivo mouse models.

Full Published Work: Click Here

Josephine Tauer - Post Doctorate

I’m a trained Biotechnologist and got my PhD in Biomedicine from the Technical University of Dresden in Germany. My research focuses on bone as an endocrine organ and its role/function in the interaction of “Muscle-Bone-Metabolism”. Outside the lab I love to listen to music, to dance, meet friends, go hiking, and sometimes just relax.

Full Published Work: Click Here

Svetlana Komarova

Nick Mikolajewicz - Graduate student

Having grown up in Toronto, Ontario, I came to Montreal to study at McGill where I received my B.Sc. degree in Anatomy & Cell Biology (2016). I am currently a Ph.D. student at McGill University under Dr. Komarova’s supervision. My research interests are the mechanotransductive mechanisms that translate mechanical stimuli into biochemical signals in the skeletal systems as well as understanding the complexities of the primitive purinergic signalling network. Beyond the lab, I am a guitarist and constantly pursue new musical influences.

Svetlana Komarova

Muthu Muthu Lakshmi - Graduate student

In 2014, I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Bioengineering from SASTRA University, India. To explore my research interests, I started working in 2015 as a research assistant at Harvard Institute of Medicine, Boston, USA. My main focus at that time was to understand the role of ADAM 17 in kidney fibrosis. I studied this process in mouse models of kidney injury and tubular cells in culture. To further continue my passion, I started in 2016 as a Masters student in Dr. Komarova’s lab in collaboration with Dr. Dieter Reinhardt from the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, McGill University. Currently, I am working on understanding the role of fibrillin-1 in the regulation of osteoclast differentiation. I am using a Marfan’s mouse model which produces less amount of normal fibrillin-1 to study the cell signaling events behind this process. This study is highly important due to a lot of connective tissue disorders such as Marfan syndrome, Weill Marchesani syndrome and various acromelic dysplasia’s with severe clinical symptoms in bone are caused by mutations in fibrillin-1. Apart from research I am also excited for colors and art! If you don’t find me in the lab then you can find me painting!

Svetlana Komarova

Borys Ostapienko - Masters student

My research focuses on understanding the dynamics of calcium phosphate precipitation during bone mineralization using mathematical modelling. Formation of mineralized bone tissue includes production of collagenous organic matrix by bone-forming osteoblasts, matrix maturation in the extracellular space, and controlled deposition of hydroxyapatite onto the mature matrix.understanding in mineral deposition of human bones. The goal of the improved and validated mathematical model will be to use it as a predictive tool to pinpoint potential function of proteins, mutation of which leads to changes in bone tissue properties, as observed in osteogenesis imperfecta.

Svetlana Komarova

Mariya Stavnichuk - Masters student

I am a third year undergraduate McGill student in Anatomy and Cell Biology and Biochemistry programs. In Dr. Komarova's lab I am involved in projects investigating changes in bone in hematopoietic disorders and malignancies using anemia mouse model, osteoclast cell cultures and literature analysis. I also work on a project investigating intracellular changes during osteoclast development, such as variation in intracellular calcium level.


Published work 1: Click Here
Published work 2: Click Here

Svetlana Komarova

Turney McKee - Past lab student

I'm a first year MSc student interested in regulatory factors found in the extracellular matrix and how they affect adiposity and inflammation. When I'm not in the lab I enjoy rock climbing, hiking, and relaxing.


Svetlana Komarova

Zarina Sabirova - Past lab student

I am in my final year in specialization in Cell and Molecular Biology at Concordia University. I'm interested in studying many different topics of science and like to play piano. 


Svetlana Komarova

Ali Mohammed - Past lab student

I am an Anatomy and Cell Biology Major from McGill University. My research focuses on the migration and motility of osteoclast cells in response to chemoattractant gradients. Outside of the lab, I like to work on my outreach initiative which involves science communication and science education. I also like to unwind at cafés that are sprinkled around the city of Montréal.


Svetlana Komarova

David McCusty - Past lab student

By utilizing the calcium-binding properties of small molecule drugs, namely the bisphosphonates, it is possible to target imaging probes specifically to the inorganic calcium matrix in bone tissue. By utilizing a Förster resonance energy transfer design composed of a fluorescent dye and fluorescence quencher pair, the bisphosphonate-conjugated imaging probe is made stimulus responsive. When the specific peptide amino acid sequence linking the two fluorescence moieties is cleaved by the enzyme that recognizes it, the fluorescence moieties are physically separated, and the dye is able to fluoresce freely, meaning that we can monitor enzymatic activity on the bone surface. Since the dye is linked to the bone via the bisphosphonate, it does not diffuse from the site after cleavage giving a stable signal to image. The activity of proteolytic enzymes is of interest in a number of diseases, including but not limited to osteoporosis and cancers metastatic to the bone.

Svetlana Komarova

Iris Boraschi-Diaz - Past lab member

I am a dentist from Costa Rica and my research interests include the effect of extracellular matrix proteins on the bone environment. Outside of the lab I enjoy going to the gym, cooking, and watching movies.

Full Published Work: Click Here

Have Any Questions? Contact Us

Svetlana Komarova Lab,
McGill University

Shriner's Hospital for Children
1003 Decarie Boulevard
Montréal, QC H4A 0A9, 514-282-8250

Dr. Komarova S.V. 
Tel: 514-282-7153