College of Medicine

Research Area(s)

  • Skeletal development and evolution
  • molecular genetics
  • synchrotron imaging
  • 3D bioprinted tissue engineering
  • Comparative transcriptomics


The Eames lab uses molecular genetics and advanced imaging techniques to understand how skeletal tissues develop and evolve.  A general focus of the lab is on skeletal cell differentiation.  What are the external signals that direct undifferentiated cells to turn into bone or cartilage cells?  How are these signals interpreted by cells to activate pathways of differentiation?  On the one hand, the Eames lab is interested in applying answers to these questions to such debilitating diseases as osteoarthritis.  On the other hand (and these hands know each other), the Eames lab is interested to know how these same answers vary among chordate clades.

Since studying HIV during my undergrad, I became fascinated with understanding molecular mechanisms of evolution. In fact, I was accepted into grad school with the presumption that I would be a molecular virologist. But then I discovered the power of using embryonic development to study evolution.

The skeletal system seemed fruitful to analyze. Ironically, my first job in science was getting stem cells to make bone in a dish, so after those intervening 5 years, I really came full circle. I figured that any genomic understanding of evolutionary changes to skeletal anatomy would require knowledge of the genes that drive cells to make skeletal tissues in the first place.

On the practical side, I love the idea that my science can help people to  live more active and healthy lives--my findings can be applied as therapies for bone fractures, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and many other serious contributors to inactivity in humans today. On the esoteric side, I love the idea that my work can serve as a textbook example of the genomics of trait evolution.

Total amount to date: $4,210,000






2018-2019 100,000 University of Saskatchewan
College of Medicine
CoMBRIDGE operating grant (Principal of 4 Co-Applicants) Establishing a pig model for cartilage tissue engineering
2018-2019 50,000 Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) Collaborative Innovation Development Grant (1 of 2 Applicants) Synchrotron imaging-based non-invasive studies on 3D printed scaffolds for bone repair
2018-2019 41,000 Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Discovery Grant Extension (Sole Investigator) Evolution of skeletal cell transcriptomes
2017-2018 102,000 Canada Council for the Arts (CCA) Explore and Create (New Media Arts)—(1 of 2 Co-Applicants) All forms at all Times
2016-2021 735,035 Canadian Institutes of health Research (CIHR) Operating Grant (Sole Investigator) Mechanisms and effects of proteoglycan-dependent signalling in skeletal tissues



Canada Council for the Arts (CCA)

New Media and Audio Artists: Research and Production Grant —(1 of 2 Co-Applicants)

Morphogenesis: Collaborative art-science laboratory residency and evolutionary science project culminating in immersive digital art exhibition



Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR)

Operating Grant; Bridge funding: New Investigator, Musculoskeletal, Skin, and Oral Health - (1 of 2 Co-Applicants)

Zonal articular cartilage tissue engineering



Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI)

John R. Evans Leaders Fund—(1 of 2 Co-Applicants)

High-throughput molecular imaging platform



Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)

Research Tools and Instruments (RTI)—(1 of 3 Co-Applicants)

X-ray tube replacement for micro-CT imaging of musculoskeletal development and adaptation



Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR)—RPP SK

New Investigator Salary Award

Deciphering the functional role of proteoglycans in the etiology of osteoarthritis



Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)

Discovery Grant

Evolution of skeletal cell transciptomes



Royal UNiversity Hospital Foundation

RUHF Research Grant

Improved imaging for osteoarthritis



Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF)

Health Research Group (Phase 3)—(1 of 10 Co-Applicants)

Tissue Engineering Research Group



Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF)

Establishment Grant

Temporal regulation of skeletal cell differentiation by proteoglycan-dependant growth factor signalling


Current Research:

Evolutionary Projects:
Chondrichthyan anatomy and histology
Evolution of skeletal cell transcriptomes

Health-relevant projects:
Molecular and cellular approaches to detect and treat osteoarthritis
I. Proteoglycan loss alone causes a broad spectrum of OA pathology
II. Chemical-specific imaging as a readout of proteoglycan function
III. Tissue engineering of articular cartilage

Selected Publications