Dr Massimo Marenzana
Dr Massimo Marenzana
Imperial College London
Bioengineering - RSM 4.32
Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology Division
London, UK, SW7 2AZ
Tel.: +44 (0)20 7594 5311
Cell.: +44 (0)7891 796732

Research Intro

Cell-Matrix Mechanobiology Group

Dr Marenzana's research is concerned with the basic biological mechanisms by which connective and skeletal tissue cells respond to the mechanical environment by remodelling the structure and composition of their extracellular matrix and how these built-in, evolutionary mechanisms are affected by pathological conditions.
Over the years his approach has been to combined quantitative imaging techniques with bespoke mechanotronic devices to accurately characterize the mechanical environment in which the mechanisms of cell-driven tissue remodelling were investigated. Using similar approaches, his group is now carrying out studies on the mechanobiology of the articular joints in mouse models of osteoarthritis. Their goal is to characterise the mechanical factors and the structural changes in articular cartilage and subchondral bone in mouse models of mechanically-induced osteoarthritis as the basis to pin down the relationship between mechanical stresses and the molecular signalling leading to joint pathology (see research website).

Research Topics and Selected Papers

Marenzana M, De Souza RL, Chenu C. Blockade of beta-adrenergic signaling does not influence the bone mechano-adaptive response in mice. Bone 2007; 41(2):206-15.

Demonstration that the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), through beta-adrenergic signalling, does not influence the mechano-adaptive response in mice, neither the osteogenic response induced by artificial loading, nor the osteoresorptive response associated with disuse induced by sciatic neurectomy. This finding helps clarifying the previous controversial literature on the subject, excluding that the SNS acts on bone metabolism by directly modulating the response to response to mechanical loading.

Rubinacci A, Marenzana M, Cavani F, Colasante F, Villa I, Willnecker J, Moro GL, Spreafico LP, Ferretti M, Guidobono F, Marotti G. Ovariectomy sensitizes rat cortical bone to whole-body vibration. Calcif Tissue Int 2008; 82(4):316-26.

This study demonstrated that estrogen differentially modulates cortical versus trabecular bone mechano-adaptive responses to small magnitude, high frequency loading.

Marenzana,M., Wilson-Jones,N., Mudera,V., Brown,R. The origins and regulation of tissue tension: Identification of collagen tension-fixation process in vitro. Exp.Cell.Res. 2006; 312(4), 423-433.

First description of cytomechanical effect to generate residual matrix tension as fibroblasts remodel a collagen matrix. "As such, it enables a new route to research in this previously inaccessible field of connective tissue mechano-adaptation", a comment made by an international leader in the field.

Marenzana M, Pickard D, MacRobert AJ, Brown RA. Optical measurement of three-dimensional collagen gel constructs by elastic scattering spectroscopy. Tissue Eng. 2002; 8(3):409-18.

This paper describe a novel use of elastic scattering spectroscopy (ESS) to monitor cell-matrix remodelling in a cell-seeded collagen lattice undergoing cell-mediated contraction. It posed the foundations for further development of minimally invasive, endocscopic ESS measurements of native tissue and tissue engineering constructs remodelling in vivo and in vitro.

Curriculum Vitae

After completing his PhD in 2004 at the Tissue Repair and Engineering Centre, University College London, Dr Marenzana held two postdoctoral positions in two bone research groups (Bone Metabolic Unit, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milano, Italy and Bone Group, Royal Veterinary College, London). In 2008 he was appointed senior research scientist in the R&D department of a pharmaceutical company based in UK, with the role of developing studies focussed on the biology of on sclerostin, a novel mechanotransduction-related bone pharmacological target (see CV for more details). Since 2010, he returned to academia, joining the Imperial College London with a lecturer appointment, joint between the Department of Bioengineering and the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology Division. With this appointment, he has also joined the Centre for Medical Solutions in the Management of Osteoarthritis.