Endocrine Hormonal Regulation in Bone Homeostasis and Regeneration

Research Interests

  • Endocrine hormonal controls in skeletal stem cells and osteoprogenitors for bone homeostasis and regeneration
  • Microenvironment within the stem cell niche of bone
  • Alternative in vitro models for bone research

The bone, functioning as an endocrine organ, intricately interacts with various hormonal signals. Bone regeneration is a complex and highly orchestrated process that involves the coordinated actions of numerous cell types over time. Despite the complex nature of this process, approximately 5% of fractures result in non-union, causing prolonged pain, immobility, and necessitating subsequent surgeries. The stress-associated hormone, glucocorticoids, plays an important role in regulating bone mass as well as the process of fracture healing.

My research group is dedicated to unraveling the cellular and molecular mechanisms of glucocorticoid receptor signaling in skeletal stem/progenitor cells both during both bone regeneration and homeostasis. Additionally, we aim to gain insights into the microenvironment within the stem cell niche of the bone. Moreover, we explore alternative in vitro models designed for bone research, with a specific focus on bone regeneration.

Our comprehensive approach broadens our perspectives, providing a foundation for identifying novel targets that can contribute to progress in the field of bone health.

Research Projects

  1. Mechanisms of glucocorticoid action in skeletal stem/progenitor cells during bone regeneration (in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Tuckermann and Prof. Dr. Ignatius) - DFG funded project within the CRC 1149 (danger response, disturbance factors and regenerative potential after acute trauma)
  2. Glucocorticoid and Notch signaling crosstalk in bone
  3. Molecular mechanism of rare jaw tumors – ossifying fibroma (in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Tuckermann)
  4. Callus organoids

Selected publications

Remark, L.H., Leclerc, K., Ramsukh, M., Lin, Z., Lee, S., Dharmalingam, B., Gillinov, L., Nayak, V. V., El Parente, P., Sambon, M., et al. (2023). Loss of Notch signaling in skeletal stem cells enhances bone formation with aging. Bone Res. 11:50. doi.org/10.1038/s41413-023-00283-8

Lee, S., Krüger, B.T., Ignatius, A., and Tuckermann, J. (2022). Distinct Glucocorticoid Receptor Actions in Bone Homeostasis and Bone Diseases. Front. Endocrinol. (Lausanne). 12, 1–8. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2021.815386

Ahmad, M., Kroll, T., Vettorazzi, S., Dorn, K., Mengele, F., Lee, S., Nandi, S., Yilmaz, D., Tangudu, N.K., Pachmayr, J., et al. (2022). Inhibition of Cdk5 increases osteoblast differentiation , bone mass and improves fracture healing. Bone Res. 10:33. doi.org/10.1038/s41413-022-00195-z

Hachemi, Y., Rapp, A.E., Lee, S., Dorn, A., Krüger, B.T., Kaiser, K., Ignatius, A., and Tuckermann, J. (2021). Intact Glucocorticoid Receptor Dimerization Is Deleterious in Trauma-Induced Impaired Fracture Healing. Front. Immunol. 11, 1–12. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2020.628287

Lee, S., Remark, L.H., Josephson, A.M., Leclerc, K., Lopez, E.M., Kirby, D.J., Mehta, D., Litwa, H.P., Wong, M.Z., Shin, S.Y., et al. (2021). Notch-Wnt signal crosstalk regulates proliferation and differentiation of osteoprogenitor cells during intramembranous bone healing. Npj Regen. Med. 6, 29. doi.org/10.1038/s41536-021-00139-x

Lee, S., Liu, P., Ahmad, M., and Tuckermann, J.P. (2021). Leukemia inhibitory factor treatment attenuates the detrimental effects of glucocorticoids on bone in mice. Bone 145, 115843. doi.org/10.1016/j.bone.2021.115843

Lee, S., Remark, L.H., Buchalter, D.B., Josephson, A.M., Wong, M.Z., Litwa, H.P., Ihejirika, R., Leclerc, K., Markus, D., Yim, N.L., et al. (2020). Propranolol Reverses Impaired Fracture Healing Response Observed With Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor Treatment. J. Bone Miner. Res. 35, 932–941. DOI: 10.1002/jbmr.3950

Josephson, A.M., Bradaschia-Correa, V., Lee, S., Leclerc, K., Patel, K.S., Lopez, E.M., Litwa, H.P., Neibart, S.S., Kadiyala, M., Wong, M.Z., et al. (2019). Age-related inflammation triggers skeletal stem/ progenitor cell dysfunction. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 116, 6995–7004. doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1810692116

Lee, S., Liu, P., Teinturier, R., Jakob, J., Tschaffon, M., Tasdogan, A., Wittig, R., Hoeller, S., Baumhoer, D., Frappart, L., et al. (2017). Deletion of Menin in craniofacial osteogenic cells in mice elicits development of mandibular ossifying fibroma. Oncogene 37, 616–626. doi:10.1038/onc.2017.364

Further publications by Dr. Sooyeon Lee can be found in our publications directory.


Current lab members

“Lee lab in the science evening (Langer Abend der Wissenschaft), Ulm University, 2024”

04/2024 - current     Simone Stoll (Bachelor student) “Role of glucocorticoid receptor in bone"

11/2023 – current      Christina Fefler (PhD student)

                                  “Mechanisms of glucocorticoid action in skeletal stem/progenitor cells

                                  during bone regeneration”

11/2023 – current      Andrey Gasmaev (MD student) “Glucocorticoid and Notch signaling crosstalk in bone

12/2023 – current      Alice Mayer (MD student) “Molecular mechanism of rare jaw tumors – ossifying fibroma”

Technical Assistant     Ulrike Kelp

Lab Alumni

04/2024                      Julia Lehner - Bachelor student (Biochemistry), UIm University

08/2023                      Eunchan Lee – Master student (Biochemistry), Ulm University

05/2023 – 08/2023     Angela Litz - Research assistant, Ulm University

11/2022 – 07/2023     Sebastian Lehner - Research assistant, Ulm University

08/2021                      Gleb Gasmaev - Bachelor student (Biology), Ulm University

04/2021                      Anna Lochner - Bachelor student (Biology), Ulm University


Group leader