Welcome to Evalina Burger-Van der Walt Lab

Lab Director, Evalina Burger-Van der Walt, MD,
Professor and Chair

Our Research

Analysis of Prognostic Cell Signaling Factors in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis

Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) is the most prevalent form of spinal deformity, accounting for 80% of pediatric scoliosis and impacts 2-4% of children.  AIS affects predominantly girls and is defined by a lateral spinal curvature, lacking a known neuromuscular cause or genetic origin. Despite its prevalence and impact on child health, the etiology of AIS and molecular mechanisms underlying its development and progression remain poorly understood. Identifying potential markers for curve progression in AIS will help in the development of a diagnostic to better predict spinal curve progression.

Effect of Osteoprotegerin Administration in a Rat Spinal Fusion Model

Osteoprotegerin is a soluble RANK-ligand inhibitor that blocks osteoclast differentiation and activation. It does not incorporate into the bone matrix and has a quick and reversible effect, thus making it a potential agent to control the remodeling process and enhance spinal fusion. The present laboratory study aimed to determine whether the administration of osteoprotegerin in a rat model of spinal fusion leads to greater bone volume in the fusion mass.  The administration of osteoprotegerin may be an attractive therapy to improve spinal fusion and warrants further investigation

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