Skeletal development

Our skeleton has many important functions, such as defining the shape of the body, allowing us to move around and protecting our internal organs. Whilst fulfilling these functions our bones must carry out one more vital process before we reach adulthood: they must grow in order for us to become taller. How bones grow and are able to keep growing throughout childhood is the focus of our research.

Lab members

Profile image

Phillip Newton

PhD, Research leader
Histology of the growth plate and surrounding tissues
Murine growth plate from the proximal tibia stained with haematoxylin and eosin. Photo: Phillip Newton

Our Research

The aim of our research is to better understand bone elongation, and how the population of growth-promoting cells is maintained until we reach our adult height. We focus on understanding the fundamental principles of bone development at the cellular and molecular levels, as well as with more clinically oriented projects.

We encourage enquiries from students wishing to study for higher degrees in skeletal development.

Selected publications

A radical switch in clonality reveals a stem cell niche in the epiphyseal growth plate.
Newton PT, Li L, Zhou B, Schweingruber C, Hovorakova M, Xie M, et al
Nature 2019 03;567(7747):234-238

Activation of mTORC1 in chondrocytes does not affect proliferation or differentiation, but causes the resting zone of the growth plate to become disordered.
Newton PT, Xie M, Medvedeva EV, Sävendahl L, Chagin AS
Bone Rep 2018 Jun;8():64-71

Superficial cells are self-renewing chondrocyte progenitors, which form the articular cartilage in juvenile mice.
Li L, Newton PT, Bouderlique T, Sejnohova M, Zikmund T, Kozhemyakina E, et al
FASEB J. 2017 03;31(3):1067-1084

Clonal Genetic Tracing using the Confetti Mouse to Study Mineralized Tissues.
Zhou B, Kaucka M, Chagin AS, Newton PT
J Vis Exp 2019 Oct;(152):

Postnatal skeletal growth is driven by the epiphyseal stem cell niche: potential implications to pediatrics.
Chagin AS, Newton PT
Pediatr. Res. 2019 Dec;():



Andrea Lancho Expósito - Erasmus+ MSc internship, University of Barcelona (2022)

The human growth plate stained with Safranin O, Fast Green and Weigert´s haematoxylin Photo: Phillip Newton

Sources of funding

Our research would not be possible without substantial contributions from governmental and private sources. We are currently funded by