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Dahir receives grant to support study of rare metabolic disorder

Aug. 17, 2017, 10:03 AM

Kathryn Dahir, M.D., associate professor of Medicine in the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, recently received the Maher Family Grant from Soft Bones Inc., an organization dedicated to providing information, education and support to those affected by hypophosphatasia (HPP).

HPP is a rare, inherited metabolic disorder that affects the development of healthy bones and teeth. The Scientific Advisory Board for the organization selected Dahir’s study to support the need for individualized research to understand how diverse the problems of HPP in adolescents and adults can be.

Jill Simmons M.D., left, and Kathryn Dahir, M.D., are co-directors of the Program for Metabolic Bone Disorders at Vanderbilt.

Dahir, along with Jill Simmons, M.D., a pediatric endocrinologist at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, co-directs the hospital’s Program for Metabolic Bone Disorders, which treats patients who have HPP or other metabolic bone disorders.

“We are excited to receive this grant, which will allow us to directly study physical impairments, abnormalities in movement and cognitive deficits in both adolescents and adults with HPP,” said Dahir. “Findings from this study will be used to develop strategies for patients, families and their doctors to better identify problems and make appropriate referrals to specialists when needed.”

The study is a collaborative effort between adult and pediatric endocrinology and the Pi Beta Phi Rehabilitation Institute. In addition, Dahir and colleagues are partnering with the Biomechanics & Assistive Technology Laboratory at Vanderbilt University to use state-of-the-art 3D motion analysis equipment to test for abnormalities in gait and muscle weakness in adolescents and adults with HPP.

This is the fourth research grant Soft Bones Inc. has awarded since its founding in 2008. For more information on the Program for Metabolic Bone Disorders at Vanderbilt, visit

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