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  Allison Wilson, Ph.D.

   Professor, Biology, Director, Master of Science in Science Content and Process

BenU Faculty since (1997)           

Argonne National Laboratory (1993-1998)
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Chicago (1990-1992)
Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago (1990)
B.S., Iowa State University (1980)

Courses Taught
Endocrinology, Cell Biology, Physiology, Cell Labs Quantitative Biology Lab for Transfer Students

Awards and Recognitions
Judith Ann Whinfrey Award for Leadership 2013
Dean's Award for Innovation 2013
Dean's Award for Leadership 2009

Research Area
Cellular Physiology of Environmental Estrogens on Bone Cells

Current Research
Osteoblasts and osteoclasts, bone-forming and bone-resorbing cells, respectively, mediate growth, modeling, remodeling, and repair of bone. The adult skeleton routinely undergoes remodeling in response to physical, hormonal, and metabolic stresses. In normal bone homeostasis, there is no net gain or loss of bone. However, uncoupling of the remodeling process by increasing osteoclastic activity without increasing bone formation to the same extent, can lead to bone loss. 

The objective of my research program is to determine mechanisms by which cadmium causes bone loss. Animal studies indicate that bone loss responses occur at blood cadmium concentrations in the range of levels reported for persons who smoke cigarettes and for workers with low-level cadmium exposure in industry. Cadmium-induced bone loss is also more pronounced in animals that have experienced increased bone stress such as estrogen deficiency, suggesting that women exposed to cadmium are at increased risk for postmenopausal osteoporosis. 

To investigate cellular mechanisms for the increased activity of the resident osteoclast population in response to cadmium exposure, cultured cell lines and primary bone cell cultures are used to study the motility, the signals for apoptosis, and the signal transduction involved with cytoskeletal reorganization that must occur when an osteoclast changes from a motile configuration to a resorbing configuration. Cell migration assays, chemotactic assays, cell viability assays, microscopic examination of immunohistochemically or fluorescently-labeled cells, gel electrophoresis, western blotting, and RT-PCR are some of the techniques used in these investigations. 

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS   (*denotes undergraduates as co-authors)
Regunathan, A., Glesne, D.A., Wilson, A.K., Song, J., Nicolae, D., *Flores, T., and M.H. Bhattacharyya.  Microarray analysis of changes in bone cell gene expression early after cadmium gavage in mice. Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol., 191:272-293, 2003.

Brako EE, Wilson AK, Jonah MM, Blum CA, Cerny EA, Williams KL, Bhattacharyya MH. Cadmium pathways during gestation and lactation in control versus metallothoinein 1,2-knockout mice.  Toxicol Sci. 71(2):154-63, 2003.

Bhattacharyya, M.H., Wilson, A.K., and Rajan, S.S.  Biochemical pathways in cadmium toxicity. In Molecular Biology and Toxicology of Metals, R.K.Zalups and D.J. Koropatanick (eds.), Taylor and Francis Publishers, 2001.

*Blum, C.A., Wilson, A. K., and Bhattacharyya, M.H.  A nest box to facilitate excreta collection from mouse dams through pregnancy, parturition, and lactation. Contemp.Topics in Lab. An. Sci., 38:71-77, 1999.

Bhattacharyya, M.H., *Blum, C.A., and Wilson, A.K.  The role of metallothionein in cadmium-induced bone resorption.  In Metallothionein IV.  C. Klassen, ed., Birkhauser Verlag, Basel, Switzerland, pp. 473-476, 1999.

Wilson, A.K., Bhattacharyya, M.H., Miller, S., *Mani, A. and Sacco-Gibson, N.  Ovariectomy-induced changes in aged beagles: histomorphometry of rib cortical bone. Calcif. Tissue Int., 62: 237-243, 1998.

Wilson, A.K. and Bhattacharyya, M.H.  Effects of cadmium on bone: An in vivo model for the early response.  Toxicol. Appl. Pharm., 145: 68-73, 1997

Wilson, A.K., Cerny, E.A., *Smith, B.D., *Wagh, A., and Bhattacharyya, M.H.  Effects of cadmium on osteoclast formation and activity in vitro.  Tox. Appl. Pharm., 140: 451- 460, 1996.

Bhattacharyya, M.H., Wilson, A.K., Silbergeld, E.K., Watson, L. and Jeffery, E.  Metal-induced osteotoxicities.  In Metal Toxicology.  R.A. Goyer, ed., Academic Press, Inc. San Diego, pp.465-510, 1995.

Allison Wilson, Ph.D.

Birck 319 | 630-829-6520


Yvonne Kumon
Assistant to the Associate Dean
(630) 829-6084

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Cheryl Mascarenhas, Ph.D.
Associate Dean, Science & Health
(630) 829-6587

Tonia Rucker
Senior Assistant to the Dean
(630) 829-6187

Elizabeth Ritt, Ed.D., RN, NEA-BC, CNE
Dean, Science & Health
(630) 829-1933