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Molecular Medicine


Martin Lotz, M.D.

Department of Molecular Medicine
California Campus
Laboratory Website
(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

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.

Molecular Medicine Seminar Series
Center for Physiological Proteomics
Department Contacts

CA Faculty

Asahara, Hiroshi
Balch, William E.
Boddy, Michael
Buxbaum, Joel
Catz, Sergio
Conti, Bruno
Cravatt, Benjamin
D'Lima, Darryl
DerMardirossian, Celine
Deryugina, Elena
Elias, Darlene
Encalada, Sandra
Felding, Brunhilde
Fowler, Velia
Friedlander, Martin
Gerace, Larry
Gottesfeld, Joel
Griffin, John
Hanneken, Anne
Heeb, Mary Jo
Henderson, Scott
Hoch, James
Johnson, Eric
Kanaji, Taisuke
Koziol, James
Lamia, Katja
Lazzerini Denchi, Eros
Lipton, Stuart
Loring, Jeanne F.
Loskutoff, David
Lotz, Martin
Makarenkova, Helen P.
Mc Millan, Robert
Miles, Lindsey
Milner, Richard
Modena, Brian
Mosnier, Laurent
Paulson, James C.
Perego, Marta
Petrascheck, Michael
Pollard, Kenneth Michael
Quigley, James P.
Reed, Steven
Roberts, Edward
Rosen, Hugh
Ruggeri, Zaverio
Russell, Paul
Saez, Enrique
Smider, Vaughn
Srinivasan, Supriya
Steinhubl, Steven
Sutcliffe, J.
Tan, Eng
Topol, Eric
Vanderklish, Peter
Vogt, Peter K.
Wiseman, Luke
Wittenberg, Curt
Wolan, Dennis W.
Wu, Peng
Wu, Xiaohua
Yang, Xiang-Lei
Yates III, John

FL Faculty

Bannister, Thomas
Bohn, Laura M.
Cameron, Michael
Duckett, Derek
Gill, Matt
Griffin, Patrick
Hansen, Scott
Joazeiro, Claudio
Kamenecka, Theodore
Kissil, Joseph
Luo, Junli
McDonald, Patricia
Miller, Courtney
Niedernhofer, Laura
Phinney, Donald G.
Robbins, Paul
Scampavia, Louis
Schimmel, Paul
Smith, Roy
Spicer, Timothy

Affiliated Faculty

Cline, Hollis
Kojetin, Douglas
Lairson, Luke
Paegel, Brian
Rumbaugh, Gavin
Shen, Ben
Solt, Laura A
Su, Andrew
Wu, Chunlei
Ye, Li

Adjunct Faculty