Karen Lyons Phd


Assistant Professor
Department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology

410C OHRC |  414 OHRC (lab)


  • AB, University of California, Berkeley, 1980
  • PhD, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1989

Awards and Inventions

  • Kappa Delta Ann Doner Vaughn Award, American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 2008
  • Elected chair Cartilage Gordon Conference, 2007
  • Elected co-chair, American Academy of Othopaedic Surgeons Symposium on Fracture Repair, 2007
  • Marta Marx Eradicate Scleroderma Award, the Scleroderma Foundation, 2004
  • Advances in Mineral Metabolism (AIMM) Investigator Award, conferred by the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, 2003
  • Distinguished Lecture Award, Japanese Society for Cartilage Biology

Research Interests

of the Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP) subgroup of TGF-related molecules have
been implicated in many key signaling events in vertebrates and invertebrates.
We are using the mouse as a model organism to study the roles of these
regulatory factors during vertebrate development, focusing on skeletal tissues.
Our approach is to take advantage of the genetic capabilities the mouse system
offers, including transgenic and gene targeting technologies. We are also using
organ and cell culture strategies. We are also investigating the functions of
the CCN family of matricellular proteins in various organs. We have generated
gain and loss-of function models for 4 of the six family members and have
identified essential functions in chondrogenesis, angiogenesis, and branching
morphogenesis in the mammary and salivary glands. We have found that many of
these effects appear to be mediated by the ability of CCN proteins to engage

Recent Papers

  1. Hall-Glenn F., Lyons K.M., “Roles for CCN2 in normal physiological processes,” Cell Mol Life Sci. 2011 Oct;68(19):3209-17. Epub 2011 Aug 20. Review.
  2. Ascenzi M.G., Blanco C., Drayer I., Kim H., Wilson R., Retting R.N., Lyons K.M., Mohler G., “Effect of localization, length and orientation of chondrocytic primary cilium on murine growth plate organization,” J Theor Biol. 2011 Sep 21;285(1):147-55. Epub 2011 Jun 23.
  3. Suwanwela J., Farber C.R., Haung B.L., Song B., Pan C., Lyons K.M., Lusis A.J., “Systems genetics analysis of mouse chondrocyte differentiation,” J Bone Miner Res. 2011 Apr;26(4):747-60.
  4. Huang B.L., Brugger S.M., Lyons K.M., “Stage-specific control of connective tissue growth factor (CTGF/CCN2) expression in chondrocytes by Sox9 and beta-catenin,” J Biol Chem. 2010 Sep 3;285(26):27702-12. Epub 2010 Jun 22.
  5. Lyons K., Ezaki M., “Molecular regulation of limb growth,” J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2009 Jul;91 Suppl 4:47-52. 
  6. Retting K.N., Song B., Yoon B.S., Lyons K.M., “BMP canonical Smad signaling through Smad1 and Smad5 is required for endochondral bone formation,” Development. 2009 Apr;136(7):1093-104. Epub 2009 Feb 18.
  7. Nishida T., Kawaki H., Baxter R.M., Deyoung R.A., Takigawa M., Lyons K.M., “CCN2 (Connective Tissue Growth Factor) is essential for extracellular matrix production and integrin signaling in chondrocytes,” J Cell Commun Signal. 2007 Jun;1(1):45-58. Epub 2007 May 16.
  8. Huang B.L., Dornbach L.M., Lyons K.M., “The 5′ untranslated regions (UTRs) of CCN1, CCN2, and CCN4 exhibit cryptic promoter activity,” J Cell Commun Signal. 2007 Jun;1(1):17-32. Epub 2007 Mar 28.
  9. Gamradt S.C., Abe N., Bahamonde M.E., Lee Y.P., Nelson S.D., Lyons K.M., Lieberman J.R., “Tracking expression of virally mediated BMP-2 in gene therapy for bone repair,” Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2006 Sep;450:238-45.
  10. Nishimura I., Drake T.A., Lusis A.J., Lyons K.M., Nadeau J.H., Zernik J., “ENU large-scale mutagenesis and quantitative trait linkage (QTL) analysis in mice: novel technologies for searching polygenetic determinants of craniofacial abnormalities,” Crit Rev Oral Biol Med. 2003;14(5):320-30. Review.