Raymond Purves Bone and Joint Research Laboratories


Professor Chris Little

Research Focus

The research focus of the Raymond Purves Bone and Joint Research Laboratories is the study of diseases of the musculoskeletal system covering three main areas:

  1. Diseases of joints, in particular, osteoarthritis.
  2. Spinal disorders such as intervertebral disc degeneration.
  3. Diseases of tendon, ligament and knee meniscus.

Our goal is to discover the molecular mechanisms that lead to degeneration and thence failure of bone and joint tissues; to understand how pathology in different tissues is interrelated; and how all of these changes contribute to patients’ pain. Our unique models of disease help to discover new pathways and therapeutic targets and translate these findings into clinical practice by testing therapies that may halt, or reverse, the disease process. Our research is based on the belief that it is only though a better understanding the mechanisms that drive the initiation and progression of the diseases of bones and joints that new therapies can be developed.

We have long and ongoing collaborations with A/Prof Amanda Fosang, Prof John Bateman (Murdoch Childrens Research Institute), Prof Peter Roughley (McGill University, Montreal), Prof Bruce Caterson, Dr Clare Hughes and Dr Tony Hayes (Cardiff University, UK), Prof John Whitelock (UNSW) and Prof Hala Zreiqat (USyd).

Funding sources: National Health and Medical Research Foundation (NHMRC, Australia), Australian Research Council (ARC), Arthritis Australia, Australian Orthopaedic Association Research Foundation, Rebecca Cooper Medical Research Foundation, Perpetual Trustees - The Hillcrest Foundation, The Lincoln Foundation for Research Into Bone and Joint Disease, Northern Sydney Area Health Service Research Fund, and contract research with industry (including, Pfizer Inc, Eli Lilly Inc, Fidia Farmaceutici SpA, PolyActiva Inc, CSIRO).