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Epidemiology Bone and Vascular Calcification

Our Research Focus

Dr. Hughes-Austin is an epidemiologist and physical therapist whose research focuses on processes influencing abnormal calcification, both in the vasculature and the bone. She combines epidemiologic methods with physiologic parameters in human populations to address disease prevention and intervention.

Her current projects include:

  • Determining the prevalence and risk factors for low bone turnover in patients with chronic kidney disease undergoing surgery for hip fracture.
  • Establishing a blood biomarker panel to identify low bone turnover and predict future risk for hip fracture in patients with chronic kidney disease.
  • Evaluating associations of antibodies to citrullinated peptide antigens with coronary artery calcium, myocardial structure and function, cardiovascular events (e.g., angina, myocardial infarction) and bone mineral density in a multi-ethnic community-dwelling population.
  • Determining whether statin therapy influences concentrations of antibodies to citrullinated peptide antigens in a multi-ethnic community-living population.
  • Determining whether changes in antibodies to citrullinated peptide antigens over time are associated with myocardial structure and function, and whether genetic predisposition to this antibody development identifies a subset of the general population at higher risk for coronary heart disease and myocardial disease.
  • Dr. Hughes-Austin’s additional research interests include health equity and health disparities, where she is evaluating musculoskeletal injuries at the California, USA – Baja California, Mexico Border; and has founded the department’s committee on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

She is also an investigator with the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), Studies of the Etiology of Rheumatoid Arthritis (SERA), the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS), the Health Aging and Body Composition Study (Health ABC), the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures (SOF), and the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (MrOS).



Hughes-Austin JM, Deane K, Derber L, Kolfenbach J, Zerbe G, Weisman M, Buckner J, O’Dell J, Mikuls T, Gregersen P, Keating R, Robinson W, Holers V, Norris J. Multiple Serum Cytokines/Chemokines are Associated with RA-Related Autoantibodies in First-Degree Relatives Without Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): Studies of the Etiology of Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Ann Rheum Dis. 2013 Jun; 72(6):901-7.

Hughes-Austin JM, Dominguez III A, Allison MA, Wassel CL, Rifkin DE, Morgan CG, Daniels MR, Ikram U, Knox JB, Wright CM, Criqui MH, Ix JH. Relationship of Coronary Calcium on Standard Chest CT Scans with Mortality. JACC Cardiovasc Imaging. 2016 Feb; 9(2):152-9. *accompanied by editorial: Hecht HS, See No Evil. JACC Cardiovasc Imaging. 2016 Feb; 9(2):160-2.

Hughes-Austin JM, Rifkin DE, Beben T, Katz R, Sarnak MJ, Deo R, Hoofnagle AN, Homma S, Siscovick DS, Sotoodehnia N, Psaty BM, de Boer IH, Kestenbaum B, Shlipak MG, Ix JH. The Relation of Serum Potassium Concentration with Cardiovascular Events and Mortality in Community-Living Individuals. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2017 Feb 7;12(2):245-252 *accompanied by editorial: Toto RD, Serum Potassium and Cardiovascular Outcomes: The Highs and Lows. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2017 Feb 7;12(2):220-221

Hughes-Austin JM, Katz R, Semba RD, Kritchevsky D, Bauer DC, Sarnak MJ, Ginsberg C, Shlipak MG, Lima F, Malluche HH*, Ix JH* Biomarkers of Bone Turnover Identify Subsets of Chronic Kidney Disease Patients at Higher Risk for Fracture.  J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2020 May 31:dgaa317.doi:10.1210/clinem/dgaa317. Online ahead of print. PMID: 3274604. *These authors contributed equally to this work

Hughes-Austin JM, Dwight K, Ginsberg C, Tipps A, Salusky I, Pereira R, Ix JH. Regional Variation in Bone Turnover at the Iliac Crest versus the Greater Trochanter. Bone 2021 Feb; 143:115604

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Samuel R. Ward, P.T., Ph.D.


Jan Hughes-Austin, M.P.T., Ph.D. 
Assistant Professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
UC San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive
Mail Code 0863
La Jolla, CA 92093-0863

Office: (858) 534-7135
Fax: (858) 822-3807
Web: UCSD Research Profile