bone health research

Bone Health Research

Research exploring the bone health of Calgarians is taking place at the Bone Imaging Laboratory at the University of Calgary’s McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health. One of the key research areas being investigated by the group is osteoporosis and fracture risk. For over a decade researchers from the Bone Imaging Laboratory have examined the bone health and bone quality of individuals with varying levels of bone mineral density and bone strength. Participants involved in the various research studies range from healthy strong individuals including national and international athletes, to elderly people with osteoporosis. The researchers are currently teamed up with NASA and the Canadian Space Agency investigating the influence of space flight and bone loss in astronauts.

Some of our current studies are:

  • Effects of vitamin D supplementation on bone strength.
  • Determinants of bone microarchitecture that lead to fracture.
  • Predicting hip fractures by advanced imaging.
  • Relationships between athletic participation and bone health.
  • Bone loss and recovery following exposure to microgravity.
  • Interventions for osteoporotic bone loss.

Interested in being a volunteer for research? Send us your name, contact information and age for future studies: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Facilities and Equipment

Located at the McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health at the University of Calgary, the Bone Imaging Laboratory uses state-of-the-art equipment to examine bone health, including dual x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and high resolution computed tomography (CT).

dxa scanner

Dual x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scanner


Hip scan



High resolution computed tomography scanner (HR-pQCT)



Lower leg (tibia) scan

Additional Information

Many of our research studies require volunteers, and we welcome interested people to contact the research team directly. More detailed information about bone research in Calgary is available at the Bone Imaging Laboratory and the McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health websites.


Contact information

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sample Publications

Burt LA, Liang Z, Sajobi TT, Hanley DA, Boyd SK. Sex- and Site-Specific Normative Data Curves for HR-pQCT. J Bone Miner Res. 2016. DOI:10.1002/jbmr.2873

Burt LA, Macdonald HM, Hanley DA, Boyd SK. Bone microarchitecture and strength of the radius and tibia in a reference population of young adults: an HR-pQCT study. Arch Osteoporos. 2014;9(1):183. DOI:10.1007/s11657-014-0183-2

Macdonald HM, Nishiyama KK, Kang J, Hanley DA, Boyd SK. Age-related patterns of trabecular and cortical bone loss differ between sexes and skeletal sites: a population-based HR-pQCT study. J Bone Miner Res. 2011; 26(1):50-62. DOI:10.1002/jbmr.171

Nishiyama KK, Macdonald HM, Hanley DA, Boyd SK. Women with previous fragility fractures can be classified based on bone microarchitecture and finite element analysis measured with HR-pQCT. Osteoporos Int. 2013; 24: 1733-1740. DOI:10.1007/s00198-012-2160-1