William Thompson, an assistant professor of physical therapy at Indiana University, has been awarded a $2.85 million grant from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. The grant will fund Thompson’s study at IUPUI to explore how bone cells sense and respond to mechanical force, one of the cues the skeleton relies on to regulate its strength.

The study will also analyze how to offset the negative effects of gabapentin, a drug commonly used to treat epilepsy and peripheral neuropathy. The negative effects include increased risk of breaking a bone and slowing down of the healing of broken bones over time.

The grant is the first R01 grant received by a faculty member in the School of Health and Human Sciences at IUPUI since the school transitioned from the School of Physical Education and Tourism Management and the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences last year. R01 grants are the largest grants issued by the National Institutes of Health to individual investigators.

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