Bone adapts very well to its mechanical environment. Increased mechanical loads result in bone formation and decreased mechanical loads result in bone loss. The Bone Engineering, Science and Technology (BEST) Lab at VCU focuses on how bone cells perceive mechanical signals and transmits these signals to changes in cell signaling, protein and gene expression. We are especially interested in the role of gap junctional intercellular communication in this process. We use cell models and genetically engineered animal models to examine the role of gap junction proteins, or connexins, in bone adaptation to mechanical load. We are also very interested in how genetic variability affects bone adaptation to its mechanical environment. To this end we are examining musculoskeletal adaptation to the mechanical environment in diversity outbred mice.