Ling Qin, Ph.D.

faculty photo
Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery
Member, Penn Center for Musculoskeletal Disorders
Member, Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Co-Director of Histology Core, Penn Center for Musculoskeletal Disorders
Member, Institute for Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism (IDOM) and Diabetes Research Center (DRC)
Department: Orthopaedic Surgery
Graduate Group Affiliations

Contact information
McKay Orthopaedic Research Laboratory
311A Stemmler Hall
3450 Hamilton Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: 215-898-6697
Fax: 215-573-2133
Lab: 215-898-3261
BS (Bioscience and Technology)
Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 1992.
Ph.D. (Biochemistry)
UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, 2001.
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Description of Research Expertise

Area of Expertise:
stem cell biology, bone and cartilage metabolism, fracture healing, skeletal adipose tissue, meniscus injury and repair, osteoporosis, and osteoarthritis

Area of Special Interest:
The Qin lab studies the cellular and molecular basis for skeletal development, homeostasis, aging, and diseases. Osteoporosis and osteoarthritis are two common skeletal diseases that cause huge economic and social burdens to our society. We utilize cutting edge techniques, including single-cell transcriptome analysis, 3D fluorescent imaging, and genetically modified animal models, to identify mesenchymal stem and progenitor cells at various musculoskeletal sites and investigate the function of progenitors and their descendants under normal and disease conditions. In collaborating with a team of multidisciplinary scientists and clinicians, our ultimate goal is to translate the studies on fundamental mechanisms of skeletal cell function into future clinical applications.

Ongoing projects in our group include:
• Delineating mesenchymal stem and progenitor cells in bone marrow, periosteum, joint, and muscle. We apply advanced single-cell transcriptomics approach to identify stem cell and progenitor subpopulations responsible for skeletal tissue homeostasis and regeneration.
• Investigating a novel adipose cell type (MALP) in bone marrow and its multifaceted actions in regulating bone metabolism. Our recent work discovered a unique cell type that expresses adipocyte markers but contains no lipid droplets. As adipocyte precursors, they exist abundantly as pericytes and stromal cells that form a ubiquitous 3D network inside the bone marrow cavity to regulate bone formation, resorption, angiogenesis, and hematopoiesis.
• Understanding the mechanism of radiation-induced osteoporosis and delayed fracture healing. Focal radiotherapy for cancer patients is frequently associated with skeletal damage within the radiation field. Our research on focal radiation animal models reveals the mechanism of radiation damage on bone structure and fracture repair. More importantly, we have proposed new therapeutic interventions for radiation-induced bone loss.
• Targeting epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling for osteoarthritis treatment. We are the first group to demonstrate that EGFR signaling is critical for maintaining the superficial layer of articular cartilage and preventing osteoarthritis initiation. In collaboration with bioengineers, we develop a nanoparticle-based drug delivery system that targets EGFR in joint cartilage for osteoarthritis therapy.
• Exploring the molecular pathways governing meniscus homeostasis and injury repair. Meniscus tears are the most common injury to the knee. Our research on mesenchymal progenitors in meniscus discovers the Hedgehog signaling as a novel therapeutic target for treating meniscus injury and preventing osteoarthritis. This finding shed light on designing an advanced bioengineering approach to improve healing of tears that are otherwise considered irreparable.

Rotation Projects
Please contact Dr. Ling Qin if you are interested in discussing a rotation project in the lab.

Qin’s lab is accepting applications from creative and motivated students and postdoc trainees who can empower the lab’s work through rigorous learning and dedication.

Selected Publications

Han, B., Li, Q., Wang, C., Chandrasekaran, P., Zhou, Y., Qin, L., Liu, X.S., Enomoto-Iwamoto, M., Kong, D., Iozzo, R.V., Birk, D.E., and Han, L.: Differentiated activities of decorin and biglycan in the progression of post-traumatic osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis Cartilage 29(8): 1181-1192, Aug 2021.

Wei, Y., Luo, L., Gui, T., Yu, F., Yan, L., Yao, L., Zhong, L., Yu, W., Han, B., Patel, J.M., Beier, F., Levin, L.S., Nelson, C., Shao, Z., Han, L., Mauck, R.L., Tsourkas, A., Ahn, J., Cheng, Z.*, and Qin, L.*. *: co-corresponding authors. : Targeting cartilage EGFR pathway for osteoarthritis treatment. Sci. Transl. Med. 13(576): doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abb3946. Jan 2021.

Li, X., Yang, S., Qin, L., and Yang, S.: Type II collagen-positive embryonic progenitors are the major contributors to spine and intervertebral disc development and repair. Stem Cells Transl Med. 10: 1419-1432, 2021.

Wang, L.#, Yao, L.#, Duan, H., Yang, F., Lin, M., Zhang, R., He, Z., Ahn, J., Fan, Y., Qin, L.*, and Gong, Y*. #: these authors contributed equally to this work. *: co-corresponding authors. : Plasminogen regulates bone fracture repair by promoting the functions of periosteal mesenchymal progenitors. J Bone Miner Res. 36: 2229-2242, 2021.

Shi, Y., Liao, X., Long, J.Y., Yao, L., Chen, J., Yin, B., Lou, F., He, G., Ye, L., Qin, L., and Long, F.: Gli1+ progenitors mediate bone anabolic function of teriparatide via Hh and Igf signaling. Cell Rep. 36: 109542, 2021.

Wei, Y., Yan, L., Luo, L., Gui, T., Jang, B., Amirshaghaghi, A., You, T., Tsourkas, A., Qin, L.*, and Cheng, Z*. *: co-corresponding authors.: Phospholipase A2 inhibitor-loaded micellar nanoparticles attenuate inflammation and mitigate osteoarthritis progression. Sci Adv. 7: eabe6374, 2021.

Zhang, Y., Tian, Z., Gerard, D., Yao, L., Shofer, F.S., Cs-Szabo, G., Qin, L., Pacifici, M., and Enomoto-Iwamoto, M. : Elevated inflammatory gene expression in intervertebral disc tissues in mice with ADAM8 inactivated. Sci Rep. 11: 1804, 2021.

Mundy, C., Yao, L., Sinha, S., Chung, J., Rux, D., Catheline, S.E., Koyama, E., Qin, L., and Pacifici, M. : Activin A promotes the development of acquired heterotopic ossification and is an effective target for disease attenuation in mice. Sci Signaling 14: eabd0536, 2021.

Yao, L., Tichy, E.D., Zhong, L., Mohanty, S., Wang, L., Ai, E., Yang, S., Mourkioti, F.*, and Qin, L.*. *: co-corresponding authors.: Gli1 defines a subset of fibro-adipogenic progenitors that promote skeletal muscle regeneration with less fat accumulation. J Bone Miner Res. 36: 1159-1173, 2021.

Park, N.R., Shetye, S.S., Bogush, I., Keene, D.R., Tufa, S., Hudson, D.M., Archer, M., Qin, L., Soslowsky, L.J., Dyment, N.A., and Joeng, K.S. : Reticulocalbin 3 is involved in postnatal tendon development by regulating collagen fibrillogenesis and cellular maturation. Sci Rep. 11: 10868, 2021.

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Last updated: 02/10/2022
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