Spine Translational Research

Spine Translational Research


Intervertebral disc degeneration and osteoporosis of the spine impose a significant socioeconomic burden and treatment for both is lacking. The Holguin laboratory focuses on the biomechanics and mechanobiology of the spine undergoing adaptation to aging, mechanical forces, genetics and injury with an eye towards therapy. Techniques used in the laboratory include molecular (e.g., PCR, qPCR, RNA-sequencing, Western blots), histologic (e.g., staining, IHC, fluorochrome histomorphometry), imaging (e.g., DEXA, microCT, MRI), and biomechanical (e.g., spinal-unit tension-compression, indentation), and genetic rodent models. Dr. Holguin is the Director of the MicroCT Core at Mount Sinai, which includes additional bone phenotyping equipment.



Kroon, T., Bhadouria, N., Niziolek, P., Edwards, D., Clinkenbeard, E.L., Robling, A., Holguin, N., (2022). Suppression of sost/sclerostin and dikkopf-1 promote intervertebral disc structure in mice. J Bone and Miner Res. 37(6): 1156-1169. DOI: 10.1002/jbmr.4546. (Cover; Contribution: Design, Writing, Expenses)

Bhadouria, N., Niziolek, P., Berman, A., Wallace, J., Holguin, N., Raloxifene stimulates estrogen reduces sex- and age-related intervertebral disc degeneration in mice by estrogen signaling. Frontiers Bioengineering and Biotechnology. (Accepted, 2022).

2020 - 2016

Silva, M., Holguin, N. (2020) Aging aggravates intervertebral disc degeneration by regulating transcription factors toward chondrogenesis. Faseb J. Dec 24; 34(3): doi.org/10.1096/fj.201902109R. (Contribution: Design, Experiments, Writing, Expenses).

Holguin, N. and Silva, M.J. (2018). In-Vivo nucleus pulposus-specific regulation of adult murine intervertebral disc degeneration via Wnt/beta-catenin signaling. Sci Rep. Jul 25; 8(1):11191. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-29352-3. (Contribution: Design, Experiments, Writing).

Sun, D., Brodt, M., Zannit, H, Holguin, N. and Silva, M.J. (2018). Evaluation of loading parameters for murine axial tibial loading: Stimulating cortical bone formation while reducing loading duration. J Orthop Res. 2018 Feb;36(2):682-691. doi: 10.1002/jor.23727. (Contribution: performed loading and consulted).

Duan X, Sandell LJ, Chinzei N, Holguin N, Silva MJ, Schiavinato A, Rai MF. (2017) Therapeutic efficacy of intra-articular hyaluronan derivative and platelet-rich plasma in mice following axial tibial loading. PLoS One. 2017 Apr 13;12(4): e0175682. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0175682. (Contribution: performed loading and consulted).

Rai MF, Duan X, Quirk JD, Holguin N, Schmidt EJ, Chinzei N, Silva MJ, Sandell LJ. (2017) Post-Traumatic Osteoarthritis in Mice Following Mechanical Injury to the Synovial Joint. Sci Rep. Mar 27;7: 45223. doi: 10.1038/srep45223. (Contribution: performed loading and consulted).

Xin, D., Holguin N, Rai, M.F., Patra, D., Liao, W., Silva, M., Sandell, L. (2016). Early changes in the knee of healer and non-healer mice following non-invasive mechanical injury. J Orthop Res. Sep 3. doi: 10.1002/jor.23413. (Contribution: performed loading and consulted).
Yan, H., Xin, D., Pan, H, Holguin N, Rai, M.F., Akk, A., Springer, L., Wickline, S., Sandell, L., Pham, C. (2016) Suppressing NF-kB activity in early cartilage responses to injury: a nanotherapeutic approach. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA Oct 11;113(41), E6199-E6208. (Contribution: performed loading and consulted).

Holguin N, Brodt, M.D., Silva, M.J. (2016). Aging impairs activation of Wnt signaling by mechanical loading in the bone of old mice. J Bone and Miner Res. DOI: 10.1002/jbmr.2900.

Holguin N. (2016). CORR Insights: The NLRP3/Caspase-1/Interleukin-1β Axis Is Active in Human Lumbar Cartilaginous Endplate Degeneration. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 474(8), 1827-1829.

Holguin N. (2016). CORR Insights: Does sclerostin stimulate fracture healing in a mouse model? Clin Orthop Relat Res. May;474(5):1303-6.

2015 - 2009

Chen J, Holguin N, Yu, S., Silva M.J., Long F. (2015). mTORC2 signaling promotes skeletal growth and bone formation in mice J Bone and Miner Res Feb; 30(2):369-78.

Holguin N, Brodt, M.D., Sanchez, M.E., Silva, M.J. (2014). Aging diminishes lamellar and woven bone formation induced by tibial compression in adult C57Bl/6 Bone August; 65: 83-91.

Holguin N, Aguilar, N., Harland, R., Silva M.J. (2014). The aging mouse partially models the aging human spine: lumbar and coccygeal disc height, composition, mechanical properties and Wnt signaling in young and old mice. J Appl Physiol June; 116(12): 1551-60.

Wu, P., Holguin N, Silva, M.J., Liao, W., Sandell, L.J. (2014). Early response of mouse joint tissues to noninvasive knee injury suggests treatment targets. Arthritis and Rheumatism May; 66(5): 1256-65.

Holguin N, Brodt, M.D., Sanchez, M.E., Lynch, M.A., Kotiya, A.A., Silva, M.J. (2013). Adaptation of tibial strength and structure to axial compression is more dependent on loading history than mouse strain. Calcif Tis Int Sep; 93(3): 211-21.

Holguin N, Martin, J., Elliott, D.M., Judex, S. (2013). Brief, low-intensity vibration partially maintains intervertebral disc mechanics and spinal muscle area during deconditioning. Spine Journal Apr; 13(4):428-36.

Holguin N, Uzer, G, Chiang, F., Rubin, C., Judex, S. (2011). Brief daily exposure to low-intensity vibration mitigates the degradation of the intervertebral disc in a frequency-specific manner. J Appl Physiol Dec; 111(6):1846-53.

Holguin N, Judex, S. (2010). Rat intervertebral disc health during hindlimb unloading: brief ambulation with or without whole-body vibration. Aviat Space Environ Med Dec; 81(12)1078-84.

Holguin N, Muir, J., Rubin, C., Judex, S. (2009). Short applications of very low-magnitude vibrations attenuate expansion of intervertebral disc during extended bed rest. Spine Journal Jun; 9(6):470-7.


Nilsson Holguin, PhD
Assistant Professor

Neharika Bhadouria, MS
(PhD Candidate)

Tori M. Kroon, MS
(PhD Trainee)

Janai Augustin, BS
(Research Associate)

Lab News

July 2022- ORL Field Day in Central Park

Nov. 2019 - Tori Kroon presents at her first ORS PSRS

Aug. 2021- The Holguin and Clinkenbeard labs escape “Contagion”

Sept. 2022- MicroCT Core opens at Mount Sinai


March 2022-2023
Advance Neuroimaging Research Program (ANRP) pilot grant (Holguin, PI)
Title: Spatio-temporal recruitment of myeloid cells in MRI by Wnt signaling-dependent disc injury

Sept. 2022- August 2027
NIAMS: 1R01AR078764 (Holguin, PI)
Title: Repurpose bone therapeutics for intervertebral disc degeneration in aged mice

Job Opportunities

We are looking to expand our group to include 1 PhD trainee (or post Doc) and 1 lab manager. Please email Dr. Nilsson Holguin for further information.

Holguin Laboratory
Nilsson Holguin, PhD
Assistant Professor
Leni & Peter W. May Department of Orthopaedics

Lab: Annenberg A20-30
Office: Annenberg A20-80A

Phone: 212-241-1664
Email: Nilsson.Holguin@mssm.edu
Twitter: @Holguinlab