null Bettina Willie, PhD

Shriners Investigator, RI-MUHC

Surgical and Interventional Sciences Program

Professor, Department of Pediatric Surgery, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, McGill University



skeletal mechanobiology • osteocytes • bone healing • bone adaptation • rare bone diseases • microcomputed tomography • circadian rhythms in bone

Research Focus

My research uses multidisciplinary approaches, including state-of-the-art high resolution imaging technologies, to study the causes, detection, and treatment of skeletal fragility. I am interested in understanding how the mechanical environment influences bone formation, adaptation, and regeneration during skeletal aging and in rare bone disorders. I examine the role of osteoblastic cells (osteocytes and osteoblasts) in the mechanosensation processes, since these cells make up the primary sensor and effector cells of mechanical cues.

My research program comprises four themes: investigating the causes and improving the detection and treatment of skeletal fragility in rare bone diseases; determining the mechanistic role that the circadian clock plays in mechanoadaptive bone (re)modeling; enhancing bone healing outcomes throughout skeletal aging using novel drugs and biophysical therapies; and examining how skeletal aging and the mechanical environment affect bone fragility in egg-laying hens.

Selected Publications

Click on Pubmed to see my current publications list

  • Gabel L, Kent K, Hosseinitabatabaei S, Burghardt AJ, Leonard MB, Rauch F, Willie BM, Guidelines on high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography assessment of bone density, microarchitecture, and strength in pediatric populations, Current Osteoporosis Reports, In press, 2023.

  • Vitienes I, Mikolajewicz N, Hosseinitabatabaei S, Bouchard A, Julien C, Graceffa G, Rentsch A, Widowski TM, Main R, Willie BM, Breed and loading history influence in vivo skeletal strain patterns in female chickens, Bone, 173:116785, 2023.

  • Hosseinitabatabaei S, Mikolajewicz N, Zimmermann EA, Rummler M, Steyn B, Julien C, Rauch F, Willie BM, 3D image registration marginally improves the precision of HR-pQCT measurements compared to cross-sectional-area registration in adults with osteogenesis imperfecta, Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 37(5):908-924, 2022.

  • Bouchard A, Dsouza C, Julien C, Rummler M, Gaumond M-H, Cermakian N, Willie BM, Bone adaptation to mechanical loading in mice is affected by circadian rhythms, Bone, 24:116218, 2021.

  • Rummler M, Ziouti F, Bouchard A, Brandl A, Duda GN, Bogen B, Beilhack A, Lynch M, Jundt F, Willie BM, Mechanical stimulation rescues bone loss and exerts cell-extrinsic anti-tumor effects in the MOPC315.BM.Luc model of myeloma bone disease, Acta Biomaterialia, 119:247-258, 2021.