MSk apply the latest technologies to research the complex hierarchical structure of both hard and soft tissues. Tracking how structure and function deteriorates with age and lifestyle, leading to diseases such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. The research will help us to:

  • Recent research published in Nature reveals that in some patients long-term treatment with the frontline therapy for osteoporosis (bisphosphonate) might actually weaken bones. Read about it on The Guardian and The BBC.
  • Understand why and how hard and soft tissues in the joints age, and how we can prevent or slow this process
  • Understand why and how joints wear out, and how we can prevent or slow this process
  • Understand the importance of the hierarchical stature of complex joint tissues in aging and disease in order to identify new treatment targets
  • Develop new hip and knee implants that match the mechanical properties of human bone
  • Develop imaging techniques for objectively assessing the health of soft tissues in the joints i.e. cartilage, ligaments and tendons

We have had regular scan time at the Diamond Light Source to image the submicron and nanostructure of bone using Synchrotron micro-CT and X-Ray diffraction


Acquaah F, Robson Brown K, Pernilla B, Ahmed F, Jeffery N, Abel RL. (2015). Early trabecular development: overproduction, constructive regression and refinement. Frontiers in Endocrinology Bone Research 6:67. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2015.00067

Wilson H, Shah I, Abel PD, Price P, Honeyfield L, Edwards S, Abel RL (2015). Contemporary hormone therapy with LHRHa for prostate cancer: avoiding osteoporosis and fracture. Central European Journal of Urology. 68:165-168. doi:  10.5173/ceju.2015.513

Abel RL, Cobb JP, Jin A, Bhattacharya R. (2014). 3D Imaging Bone Quality: Bench to Bedside. Hard Tissue. 2:42 -51. doi:

Wilson H, Shah SIA, Abel P, Price P, Abel RL. RE: Overdiagnosis of bone fragility in the quest to prevent hip fracture- before we reach breaking point. BMJ 350:2088. Link

Shah SIA, Langley RE, Cafferty FH, Abel RL, Abel PD. (2013). Fracture after androgen deprivation therapy among men with a high baseline risk of skeletal complications. Letter. BJU International 112:E431–E433. Link