The American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) will honor Marc McKee, PhD, with its 2019 Adele L. Boskey Award at its 2019 Annual Meeting in Orlando on September 20. McKee is a professor with the McGill University Faculty of Dentistry.
Boskey was a pioneer in understanding the process by which mineralized tissues such as bone and teeth incorporate calcium and phosphate into their matrices, how the matrices are involved in that process, and the role of the biomineral in bone disease.
McKee holds the Canada Research Chair in Biomineralization with the Faculty of Dentistry. His research focuses on biomineralization in bones, teeth, entheses, otoconia, and eggshells and in pathologic calcification.
In recent years, McKee has become increasingly active in investigating enzymes that degrade mineralization inhibitors in the extracellular matrix, notably the enzymes tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase and phosphate-regulating gene with homologies to endopeptidases, X-linked (PHEX).
After more than 15 years of searching by the mineralized tissue community for a physiologically relevant substrate for PHEX, in 2013, McKee and his colleagues identified this to be osteopontin.
This research has opened the door to potential clinical interventions for the disease in which the PHEX gene is mutated, X-linked hypophosphatemia, and is currently McKee’s focus.
With more than 220 scientific articles and more than 24,000 citations of his research, McKee has received two Distinguished Scientist Awards from the International Association for Dental Research and the 2018 CP Leblond Award.
“Adele Boskey taught me many things in many ways. She taught me from her research about how proteins might function in biomineralization processes. She taught me from face to face discussions about what was really important, and why and what to question,” McKee said.
“From simply observing her, I learned principles of leadership. From reciprocal visits and regular communication, her friendship taught me how to keep smiling as a scientist and look broadly and positively beyond the immediate,” McKee said.
“If we are wise, there remains visible her trail of footsteps that we must not lose track of if we are to stay the course of discovery in the mineralized tissue research areas she worked in, and there are many,” McKee said.
“I am ever so pleased to be honored in the context of her achievements, and I thank my colleagues who, like Adele, have participated in one way or another in this recognition. I also sincerely thank my nominators, Martha Somerman, Lynda Bonewald, and Michael Whyte,” McKee said.