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Martin Lotz, M.D.

Department of Molecular Medicine
California Campus
Laboratory Website
Scripps VIVO Scientific Profile
(858) 784-8960

Research Focus

Our research interest is in joint biology, joint aging, arthritis pathogenesis, preclinical and clinical drug development.

Since 1989 Dr. Lotz directed a program on joint aging and osteoarthritis. Our studies identified aging-related changes in cartilage and other joint tissues that determine risk for osteoarthritis.

We discovered that cellular homeostasis mechanisms are compromised in aging and that this represents an early event leading to tissue damage.We initiated a ‘Joint Omics’ project which uses next generation sequencing technologies to uncover aging and disease associated changes in the transcriptomes in joint tissues. Data from this project are being used to identify key regulators of the abnormal phenotypes of cells, with focus on transcription factors.

Our current studies address the role of FOXO, KLF and MKX transcription factors and the circadian rhythm pathway in cartilage homeostasis and osteoarthritis pathogenesis. These transcription factors are also being investigated in meniscus, ligaments and spine. Efforts are ongoing to discover small molecules and genetic approaches to target transcription factors in the treatment of joint diseases and in tissue engineering.


M.D., Medicine, Heidelberg University, 1981

Professional Experience

1997-               Professor, Molecular Medicine (MM), The Scripps Research Institute
1990-1996       Associate Professor,  Department of Medicine, University of California
1987-1990       Assistant Professor, Molecular and Experimental Medicine, Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation

Awards & Professional Activities

Arthritis Foundation Investigator Award 1988
American Society for Clinical Investigation 1994
Board of Directors, Osteoarthritis Research Society International 2000-2008
President, Osteoarthritis Research Society International 2004-2006
Kappa Delta Award, Orthopedic Research Society 2005
Basic Science Award, Osteoarthritis Research Society International 2010

Current Editorial Boards
Arthritis Research Therapy, Associate Editor; Biotherapy; The Journal of Immunology; Osteoarthritis and Cartilage; Modern Rheumatology

Selected References

All Publications

Matsuzaki T, Alvarez-Garcia O, Mokuda S, Nagira K, Olmer M, Gamini R, Miyata K, Akasaki Y, Su AI, Asahara H, LOTZ MK. FoxO transcription factors in cartilage maturation, homeostasis and osteoarthritis pathogenesis. Science Transl Med 2018. In Press

Alvarez-Garcia O, Matsuzaki T, Olmer M, Plate L, Kelly JW, LOTZ MK. Regulated in development and DNA damage response 1 deficiency impairs autophagy and mitochondrial biogenesis in articular cartilage and increases severity of experimental osteoarthritis. Arthritis Rheumatol  2017; 69 :1418-1428.

Matsuzaki T, Akasaki Y, Olmer, Oscar M, Alvarez-Garcia O, Reixach N, Buxbaum J, LOTZ MK. Transthyretin deposition promotes progression of osteoarthritis. Aging Cell 2017; 16 :1313-1322.

Akagi R, Akatsu Y, Fisch KM, Alvarez-Garcia O, Teramua T, Muramatsu Y, Saito M, Sasho T, Su A, LOTZ MK. Dysregulated circadian rhythm pathway in human osteoarthritis: NR1D1 and BMAL1 suppression alters TGF-β signaling in chondrocytes. Osteoarthritis Cartilage 2017; 25 :943-951.

Hasegawa A, Yonezawa T, Taniguchi N, Otabe K, Akasaki Y, Matsukawa T, Saito M, Neo M, Marmostein LY, LOTZ MK. Fibulin-3 in joint aging and osteoarthritis pathogenesis. Arthritis Rheumatol 2017; 69:576-585.

Loeser R, LOTZ M, Osteoarthritis in the elderly. In: Advances in Geroscience. Sierra F, Kohanski R [Eds.] Springer NY, p. 309-353, 2016.

Akasaki Y, Reixach N, Matsuzaki T, Alvarez-Garcia O, Olmer M, Iwamoto Y, Buxbaum JN, and LOTZ MK. Transthyretin deposition in articular cartilage: a novel mechanism in the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis. Arthritis Rheumatol 2015 67:2097-107.

Akasaki Y, Alvarez-Garcia O, Saito M, Caram.s B, Iwamoto Y, and LOTZ MK. FOXO transcription factors support oxidative stress resistance in human chondrocytes. Arthritis Rheumatol 2014; 66 :3349-58.