Dr. Romani graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Delaware and a Masters of Health Administration from Cornell University. His doctoral work at the University of Virginia focused on bone remodeling and the diagnosis of and prevention of tibial stress fractures. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science where he teaches courses in Orthopedic Physical Therapy. He also teaches basic physical therapy tests and measures content from the text Muscles: Testing and Function of which he is a co-author. Doctor Romani’s research focuses on the influence of sex hormones on the genetic and protein expression of collagen and the strength of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament.
Doctor Romani’s research focuses on the influence of sex hormones on the genetic and protein expression of collagen and the strength of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament. Steroid sex hormones have been shown to acutely influence the mRNA expression of collagen and matrix metalloproteinases in the ACL and other connective tissues. However, short-term exposures to cyclically fluctuating concentrations of sex hormones have not resulted in similar acute, measurable changes in ACL strength. This suggests that a time course longer than the short lived elevations of sex hormones within a single reproductive cycle may be necessary for sex hormone modulated mRNA transcription to result in downstream changes in collagen remodeling and ACL strength. In fact, sex hormone mediated changes in ACL strength may occur only after long term exposure to cyclical combinations or threshold concentrations of sex hormones over several cycles. To support this mechanism we are conducting studies to test whether acute changes in collagen mRNA and protein expression are, in fact, related to circulating sex hormones and whether sex hormones mediate gender specific differences in the tensile strength and collagen protein content of the ACL. Collaborative work in our lab includes sex hormone related mechanisms of heat shock protein expression and the role of aromatase inhibitors in the synthesis of sex hormones in the ACL.
Lab Techniques and Equipment
Dr. Romani's lab is in the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science Musculoskeletal Biology Laboratory. The Musculoskeletal Biology Laboratory includes over 700 sq. ft. of research space and is fully equipped for apoptosis assays, hormone assays, enzymatic and metabolite assays of tissue homogenates, PCR and western blotting. The lab equipment includes 2 fume hoods, 1 incubator, 1 DNA thermal cycler, 1 Zeiss IM 35 microscope, balances, microfuges, 1 Beckman J-20 high-speed centrifuge, 1 Jouan MR18 benchtop refrigerated centrifuge, UV/visible plate reader with temperature control, UV/visible photodiode array spectrophotometer, tris-compatible pH meter, 3 water and 1 dry bath, 2 refrigerators (4 C), 2 –20C and 2 -80C freezers, horizontal and vertical gel electrophoresis equipment, vibration free work table, hybridization oven and a Millipore Simplicity water polishing station.
Romani WA, Patrie J. Curl LA, Flaws JA. The Correlations Between Estradiol, Estrone, Estriol, Progesterone, and Sex Hormone Binding Globulin and Anterior Cruciate Ligament Stiffness in Healthy, Active Females. Journal of Women’s Health and Gender Based Medicine 12(3), 2003.
Lovering RM, Romani WA. The Effect of Testosterone on the Female Anterior Cruciate Ligament. American Journal of Physiology- Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. 2005 Jul; 289(1):R15-22. Epub 2005 Mar 24. PMID: 5790748
Zazulak BT, Paterno M, Myer GD, Romani WA, Hewett TE. Systematic Review of the Effects of the Menstrual Cycle on Anterior Knee Laxity in Females. Sports Medicine. 2006;36(10):847-62.
Naylor ME, Romani WA. Test-Retest Reliability of Three Dynamic Balance Tests Obtained From Active Healthy Females Using the Neurocom Balance Master. Journal of Sport Rehabilitation. 2006:15(4).
Whitcomb BW, Whiteman MK, Langenberg P, Flaws JA, Romani WA. Physical Activity and Risk of Hot Flashes among Women in Midlife. Journal of Women’s Health and Gender Based Medicine. 2007. 16(1):141-150