Deborah J. Veis (Novack), MD, PhD

Internal Medicine
Bone & Mineral Diseases
Pathology and Immunology

Molecular Cell Biology Program
Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis Program
Immunology Program
Cancer Biology Program

  • 314-454-8472

  • 314-454-5975

  • 314-454-5047

  • BJC Institute of Health, 11th floor



  • bone biology, osteoclast, cancer, metastasis, osteoporosis, microenvironment, osteoblast, osteomyelitis, infection

  • The bone microenvironment for cancer and infection

Research Abstract:

The Veis lab utilizes a combination of transgenic mouse models and pharmacological approaches to study the molecular regulation of bone mass under basal and diseased conditions, including infection, postmenopausal osteoporosis, and bone metastasis. Our overarching research questions include:

1. How does the bone microenvironment propagate bacterial insult to the bone by S. aureus?
• Bacterial infection of the bone leads to severe disruption of skeletal integrity that often requires amputation
• We’re using in vitro and in vivo models of osteomyelitis (bone infection) to understand how bone cells interact with S. aureus

2. How do tumor cells interact with the bone microenvironment?
• Our primary model now is Adult T-cell Leukemia (ATL), caused by HTLV1 retroviral infection. It is associated with systemic bone loss as well as focal osteolytic lesions.
• We have multiple mouse models (using human ATL or HTLV-infected T cell lines) as well as patient samples.
• Our current focus is on exosomes (small extracellular vesicles) released by HTLV-infected T cell and the mechanisms by which they cause bone loss. We are studying them with a variety of techniques including RNAseq and proteomics.

Mentorship and Commitment to Diversity Statement:
My philosophy is that each lab member brings a unique set of skills and creativity to the group, with individualized career goals. My job as mentor is to help everyone build on their strengths and tackle their challenges as they contribute to the lab’s research projects while growing towards their own career goals. The best science emerges from a robust discussion about the scientific questions and the techniques used to address them, how to interpret the data, and how best to present them. I am not a micromanager, and those who thrive best are self-directed and self-motivated. My door is open, and there is no such thing as a stupid question – it is always preferable to answer a question early on than discover later that someone did not want to “bother me” to ask. Most of our projects are collaborative, taking advantage of the wealth of expertise in the Washington University Musculoskeletal Research Center. The research opportunities, combined with personalized mentorship, provide a positive environment in which anyone with an inquiring mind, regardless of their background, can develop as a scientist.

Selected Publications:

Complete bibliography:

Kohart NA, Elshafae SM, Supsahvad W, Alasonyalilar-Demirer A, Panfil AR, Xiang J, Dirksen WP, Veis DJ, Green PL, Weilbaecher KN, Rosol TJ. Mouse Model Recapitulates the Phenotypic Heterogeneity of Human Adult T-cell Leukemia/Lymphoma in Bone. J Bone Oncol. 2019 Dec;19:100257. PMCID: PMC6911918.

Xiang J, Rauch DA, Huey DD, Panfil AR, Cheng X, Esser AK, Su X, Harding JC, Xu Y, Fox GC, Fontana F, Kobayashi T, Su J, Sundaramoorthi H, Wong WH, Jia Y, Rosol TJ, Veis DJ, Green PL, Niewiesk S, Ratner L, Weilbaecher KN. HTLV-1 Viral Oncogene HBZ Drives Bone Destruction in Adult T-Cell Leukemia. JCI Insight. 2019 Oct 3;4(19). PMCID: PMC6795409.

Krauss JL, Roper PM, Ballard A, Shih CC, Fitzpatrick JAJ, Cassat JE, Ng PY, Pavlos NJ, Veis DJ. Staphylococcus aureus Infects Osteoclasts and Replicates Intracellularly. mBio. 2019 Oct 15;10(5). PMCID: PMC6794488

Roper PM, Eichelberger KR, Cox L, O'Connor L, Shao C, Ford CA, Fritz SA, Cassat JE, Veis DJ. Contemporary clinical isolates of Staphylococcus aureus from pediatric osteomyelitis patients display unique characteristics in a mouse model of hematogenous osteomyelitis. Infection and Immunity. 2021 Sep 16;89(10):e0018021.

Roper PM, Shao C, Veis DJ. Multitasking by the OC Lineage during Bone Infection: Bone Resorption, Immune Modulation, and Microbial Niche. Cells. 2020 Sep 24; 9(10). Review. PMCID: PMC7598711.

Veis DJ, Cassat JE. Infectious Osteomyelitis: Marrying Bone Biology and Microbiology to Shed New Light on a Persistent Clinical Challenge. J Bone Miner Res. 2021 Apr;36(4):636-643.

Last Updated: 11/10/2022 10:08:13 AM

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