Pamela Robey, PhD

Senior Investigator

Skeletal Biology Section


Building 30 Room 226
30 Convent Dr MSC 4320
Bethesda MD 20892-4320


Research Topics

Dr. Pamela Robey focuses on four main areas in skeletal cell biology:  1) determination of the characteristics and the biological properties of post-natal bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs), a subset of which are multipotent skeletal stem cells (SSCs), able to recreate cartilage, bone, cells that support blood formation and fat cells in the marrow; 2) elucidation of the role of enzymatic matrix remodeling in the maintenance of SSC function; 3) characterization of the role that BMSCs/SSCs play in skeletal diseases; and, 4) development of techniques for cartilage and bone regeneration in human patients with skeletal defects.  In addition to using BMSCs for tissue engineering, Dr. Robey and her group also explore the potential of pluripotent stem cells to differentiate into cartilage and bone as another source of cells for skeletal regeneration.


Dr. Robey received her BA from Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, PA, and her MS and PhD from the Catholic University in Washington, DC. She did her post-doctoral work at the National Institute of Arthritis, Metabolism and Digestive Diseases (now the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)) on the role of defective phosphorylation of enzymes leading to lysosomal storage disease, and a staff fellowship in the National Eye Institute, where she studied retinal and ocular connective tissue diseases. Dr. Robey joined NIDCR in 1983 and established reproducible methods for culturing human bone-forming cells, in order to study the development of mineralized matrix formation. In 1992, Dr. Robey was appointed chief of Skeletal Biology Section. Dr. Robey has served as a Co-Coordinator of the NIH Bone Marrow Stromal Cell Transplantation Center (2008-2013), and is currently the acting Scientific Director of the NIH Stem Cell Characterization Facility. 

Selected Publications

  1. Balakumaran A, Mishra PJ, Pawelczyk E, Yoshizawa S, Sworder BJ, Cherman N, Kuznetsov SA, Bianco P, Giri N, Savage SA, Merlino G, Dumitriu B, Dunbar CE, Young NS, Alter BP, Robey PG. Bone marrow skeletal stem/progenitor cell defects in dyskeratosis congenita and telomere biology disorders. Blood. 2015;125(5):793-802.

  2. Sworder BJ, Yoshizawa S, Mishra PJ, Cherman N, Kuznetsov SA, Merlino G, Balakumaran A, Robey PG. Molecular profile of clonal strains of human skeletal stem/progenitor cells with different potencies. Stem Cell Res. 2015;14(3):297-306.

  3. Sacchetti B, Funari A, Remoli C, Giannicola G, Kogler G, Liedtke S, Cossu G, Serafini M, Sampaolesi M, Tagliafico E, Tenedini E, Saggio I, Robey PG, Riminucci M, Bianco P. No Identical "Mesenchymal Stem Cells" at Different Times and Sites: Human Committed Progenitors of Distinct Origin and Differentiation Potential Are Incorporated as Adventitial Cells in Microvessels. Stem Cell Reports. 2016;6(6):897-913.

  4. Chen KG, Johnson KR, McKay RDG, Robey PG. Concise Review: Conceptualizing Paralogous Stem-Cell Niches and Unfolding Bone Marrow Progenitor Cell Identities. Stem Cells. 2018;36(1):11-21.

  5. Kuznetsov SA, Hailu-Lazmi A, Cherman N, de Castro LF, Robey PG, Gorodetsky R. In Vivo Formation of Stable Hyaline Cartilage by Naïve Human Bone Marrow Stromal Cells with Modified Fibrin Microbeads. Stem Cells Transl Med. 2019;8(6):586-592.

This page was last updated on February 20th, 2018