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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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Wenhan Chang, PhD

Assistant Director, Endocrine Research Unit, SFVAHCS
Assistant Adjunct Professor of Medicine, UCSF


Cartilage Development and Injury Repair

Dr. Chang's research explores the impact of extracellular Ca2+ (calcium) and anabolic growth factors on cartilage development and the capacity of chondrocytes (cartilage cells) to repair the cartilage following traumatic injuries. One of his projects investigates the role of the Ca2+-sensing receptor (CaR), which responds to minute changes in the extracellular Ca2+ concentrations, in chondrocyte differentiation in vivo and in vitro. Another project studies the role of the CaR in maintaining the integrity of articular cartilage in aging animals. In a parallel project, similar animal models were generated to investigate the anabolic actions of the signaling molecules IGF1 and IGF1R in cartilage. Dr. Chang and his colleagues have also developed a unique chondrocyte culture system which recapitulates in vitro the sequence of chondrocyte differentiation in vivo. This technique will facilitate the testing and discovery of anabolic reagents for cartilage and provide further insights into the mechanisms underlying cartilage physiology and pathology.

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