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NCIRE-The Veterans Health Research Institute is the leading private nonprofit institute devoted to Veterans health research in the United States. Our mission is to advance Veterans health through research.

We support the work of some of the nation's foremost physicians and scientists at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the premier biomedical research facility in the VA system. All have faculty appointments at the University of California, San Francisco, which has its own proud traditions of research and patient care. We also partner with the U.S. Department of Defense to support health research on behalf of our men and women in the Armed Forces.

Those who have served in uniform have given their best for their country. In return, we believe that they deserve nothing less than the best health care research we can provide.

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Mary C. Nakamura, MD

Staff Physician, Medical Service, SFVAHCS
Associate Professor of Medicine, UCSF


Investigating the Regulation of Bone Loss by Inflammation and Immune Receptors

Dr. Nakamura's field of study is osteoimmunology, a cross-disciplinary field that integrates studies of the immune system and studies of bone to define the interactions between these two systems. Her work currently focuses on osteoclasts, which resorb bone cells. Osteoclasts are the only such cells that are derived from white blood cells, and are similar to other cells in the innate immune system. Overactivity of osteoclasts leads to bone loss, which is an important clinical problem in patients particularly in osteoporosis, inflammatory arthritis, and metastatic bone lesions from cancer. Dr. Nakamura's studies are focused on determining how specific cell surface molecules (receptors) on osteoclasts regulate bony remodeling in normal and pathological states, and how inflammation regulates this process. This work will enable us to better understand how osteoclasts are activated in different diseases and will lay the groundwork for the development of specific therapeutics to prevent bone loss.   

To see Dr. Nakamura on Pub Med, click here.