Texas Biomed Staff

Lorena M. Havill

Associate Scientist | No Department
Phone: 210-258-9875
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Havill and her team investigate variation in risk of two common aging-related diseases of the skeletal system: Osteoporosis (“fragile bone disease”) and osteoarthritis. These disorders are extremely common age-related skeletal diseases, but their causes and the ability to prevent and treat them remain elusive.

Osteoporosis involves loss of bone from the skeleton and changes in the quality and arrangement of the remaining bone, resulting in a skeleton that is more likely to fracture.

Osteoarthritis involves destruction of the joints of the skeleton, resulting in pain, stiffness, and limited mobility that make this disease the leading cause of disability in the U.S.

Dr. Havill applies molecular and statistical genetic methods in studies of large extended pedigrees of baboons and humans to interrogate the roles of genetic and sex differences in bone fragility and in osteoarthritis.

Her research program is built on novel study designs to 1) reveal the fundamental biological mechanisms that underlie variation in risk of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, and 2) identify the specific genes that are most important in disease risk. Her studies involve a holistic rather than reductionist approach to disorders of skeletal aging that she believes is essential to significant advances in basic knowledge of these disease processes that are needed for more effective prevention and treatment.


Doctoral Degree: Biological Anthropology (2002)

Indiana University Bloomington, IN

Master's Degree: Biological Anthropology (1998)

Indiana University Bloomington, IN

Bachelor's Degree

Beloit College Beloit, WI

Research Focus

Skeletal genetics, skeletal aging, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, bone microstructure, microarray analysis in bone, science education

Awards and Honors

2010 Young Investigator Award, Max and Minnie Tomerlin Voelcker Fund.

2009 Board of Regents Visiting Scholar, University of California, Berkeley

2007 Harold M. Frost Young Investigator Award, 37th International Sun Valley Hard Tissue Workshop/ASBMR

2006 40 Under 40 Rising Star Award, San Antonio Business Journal

2004 John Haddad Young Investigator Award, AIMM/ASBMR

2003 Ruth L. Kirschtein National Research Service Award to study “Sex Effects on the Genetics of Bone Mineral Density”, NIH/NIAMS

2003 Plenary Poster Award, American Society for Bone and Mineral Research Annual Meeting

2002 Cowles Fellowship, Texas Biomedical Research Institute

1999 Sigma Xi Grant in Aid of Research

1999 Wenner-Gren Foundation Predoctoral Grant for “Osteon Remodeling: the Impact of Maternal Lineage”

1997 David C. Skomp Summer Dissertation Research Award, Dept. of Anthropology, Indiana University

1992 Skomp Graduate Fellowship, Department of Anthropology and University Graduate School, Indiana University

1992 James L. Lockwood Prize for “Outstanding Contributions to Department of Anthropology and Logan Museum” Beloit College

1992 Phi Beta Kappa

1989 Alpha Mu Gamma

1988 Alpha Lambda Delta


Reproductive status and sex show strong effects on knee OA in a baboon model

Macrini TE, HB Coan, SM Levine, T Lerma, CD Saks, DJ Araujo, TL Bredbenner, RD Coutts, DP Nicolella, LM Havill
Osteoarthritis and Cartilage 21: 839-48, 2013
PubMed ID: 23499674

Mechanical contributors to sex differences in idiopathic knee osteoarthritis

Nicolella DP, MJ O’Connor, RM Enoka, BD Boyan, DA Hart, E Resnick, KJ Berkley, KA Sluka, KC Kwoh, LL Tosi, RD Coutts, LM Havill, WM Kohr
Biol Sex Diff 3: 28, 2012
PubMed ID: 23259740


R01 AR060341
07/15/2011 - 04/30/2016
Bone structural integrity profiling to advance skeletal genetics and biomechanics

Genetic effects on knee osteoarthritis
07/01/2010 - 06/30/2013
Max and Minnie Tomerlin Voelcker Fund

Genetic architecture of knee osteoarthritis: Lessons from healthy joints in baboons of advanced age
10/17/2011 - 05/18/2013
Society for Women's Health Research

R21 1R21AR054189
A baboon model for the genetics of cortical bone properties

Identifying polymorphisms in the LRP5 gene in baboons
Southwest National Primate Research Center

Genetics of vertebral mechanical properties in the baboon
Southwest National Primate Research Center

Identifying genetic effects of bone microstructure related to osteoporosis fracture risk using a baboon model
San Antonio Area Foundation

The genetics of osteon remodeling in the baboon
Southwest Foundation Forum

1F32 AR049694-01 Havill (PI)
Genetics of sex effects on bone density and turnover