Fredrick Pavalko

Fredrick Pavalko

Department of Cellular and Integrative Physiology
Indiana University


Pavalko, Fredrick M., Ph.D. Received his B.S. in Biology from Guilford College in 1982, and a Ph.D. from Florida State University in 1987. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 1987-91, he joined the faculty at Indiana University in the School of Medicine as an Assistant Professor. He currently holds the rank of Professor and is a member of the Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health.

The primary focus of his research is understanding the cellular mechanisms of mechanotransduction through integrins in osteoblasts, osteocytes and endothelial cells. Understanding fundamental biology of signal transduction in bone and vascular tissues in response to mechanical cues from the microenvironment is important to a more complete understanding of how best to treat disease. With his colleagues he developed the concept of the “mechanosome” to experimentally test how cells detect and respond appropriately to the mechanical loading environment that exists in the skeleton. Typically studies on mechanotransduction have focused primarily on understanding the signaling pathways that stimulate cellular responses to load. His laboratory has taken a slightly different approach by also trying to understand and alter the structural, signaling and transcriptional molecules that suppress the stimulatory effects of loading.  Manipulating these “off switches” might be of much greater therapeutic utility than intensifying the “on switches”. Thus, distinct types of mechanical loading such as fluid shear stress or substrate strain might be manipulated, so that modest mechanical loading can have sustained and/or enhanced anabolic effects via suppressing the MTD “off switches”. 

Research interest:

The cellular mechanisms of mechanotransduction through integrin in osteoblasts and osteocytes and endothelial cells.