My research involves preclinical testing of new drugs and hormones for the prevention and treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis, a bone disorder that afflicts millions of elderly women. These studies are performed in the ovariectomized rat, a widely accepted animal model for postmenopausal bone loss. Bone samples are subjected to histomorphometric analysis with a computer-assisted, image analysis system to determine the effects of the various treatments on bone mass and levels of bone resorption and formation. In addition, molecular biology techniques are used to determine the effects of novel osteoporosis therapies on gene expression for selected growth factors, cytokines, and bone matrix proteins. The same histomorphometric and molecular biology techniques are used to investigate the skeletal effects of actual and simulated space flight.