• B.S. Engineering, Trinity College, 05/2005
  • M.S. Biomedical Engineering, Stony Brook University, 12/2007
  • Ph.D. Biomedical Engineering, Stony Brook University, 12/2010

Professional Experience

  • Research Instructor, Washington University in St. Louis, 8/2016 - 6/2017
  • Post Doctoral Research Fellowship, Washington University in St. Louis, 8/2011 - 7/2016

Awards & Honors

  • ORS Spine Section Member Podium Award Finalist ('17 & '18), 3/2018
  • Harold Frost Young Investigator Award – 46th International Sun Valley Workshop on Musculoskeletal Biology, 7/2016
  • NRSA for Individual Postdoctoral Fellows (F32), 4/2014
  • Under-Represented Minority Young Investigator Award – 43rd International Sun Valley Workshop on Musculoskeletal Biology, 7/2013
  • Aerospace Medical Association - Ross McFarland Student Award (Best Paper), 8/2010

Selected Publications

  • Silva, M.J.,Holguin, N. (2020). Aging aggravates intervertebral disc degeneration by regulating transcription factors toward chondrogenesis. Faseb J. Feb; 34(2):1970-198 PMID: 31909538

  • Holguin, N. and Silva, M.J. (2018). In-vivo nucleus pulosus-specific regulation of adult murine intervertebral disc degeneration via Wnt/beta-catenin signaling. Sci Rep. July 25:8:11191. , 7/2018
  • Holguin, N., Brodt, M.D., Silva, M.J. (2016). Aging impairs activation of Wnt signaling by mechanical loading in the bone of old mice. J Bone and Miner Res. DOI: 10.1002/jbmr.2900., 12/2016
  • Yan, H., Xin, D., Pan, H, Holguin, N., Rai, M.F., Akk, A., Springer, L., Wickline, S., Sandell, L., Pham, C. (2016) Suppressing NF-kB activity in early cartilage responses to injury: a nanotherapeutic approach. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA Oct 11;113(41), E6199-E6208, 10/2016
  • Holguin, N. (2016). CORR Insights: The NLRP3/Caspase-1/Interleukin-1β Axis Is Active in Human Lumbar Cartilaginous Endplate Degeneration. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 474(8), 1827-1829, 8/2016
  • Holguin, N. (2016). CORR Insights: Does sclerostin stimulate fracture healing in a mouse model? Clin Orthop Relat Res. May;474(5):1303-6., 5/2016
  • Chen J, Holguin, N., Yu, S., Silva M.J., Long F. (2015). mTORC2 signaling promotes skeletal growth and bone formation in mice J Bone and Miner Res Feb; 30(2):369-78., 2/2015
  • Holguin, N., Brodt, M.D., Sanchez, M.E., Silva, M.J. (2014). Aging diminishes lamellar and woven bone formation induced by tibial compression in adult C57Bl/6 Bone August; 65: 83-91. , 8/2014
  • Holguin, N., Aguilar, N., Harland, R., Silva M.J. (2014). The aging mouse partially models the aging human spine: lumbar and coccygeal disc height, composition, mechanical properties and Wnt signaling in young and old mice. J Appl Physiol June; 116(12): 1551-60., 6/2014
  • Wu, P., Holguin, N., Silva, M.J., Liao, W., Sandell, L.J. (2014). Early response of mouse joint tissues to noninvasive knee injury suggests treatment targets. Arthritis and Rheumatism May; 66(5): 1256-65. , 5/2014
  • Holguin, N., Brodt, M.D., Sanchez, M.E., Lynch, M.A., Kotiya, A.A., Silva, M.J. (2013). Adaptation of tibial strength and structure to axial compression is more dependent on loading history than mouse strain. Calcif Tis Int Sep; 93(3): 211-21., 9/2013
  • Holguin, N., Martin, J., Elliott, D.M., Judex, S. (2013). Brief, low-intensity vibration partially maintains intervertebral disc mechanics and spinal muscle area during deconditioning. Spine Journal Apr; 13(4):428-36., 4/2013
  • Holguin, N., Uzer, G, Chiang, F., Rubin, C., Judex, S. (2011). Brief daily exposure to low-intensity vibration mitigates the degradation of the intervertebral disc in a frequency-specific manner. J Appl Physiol Dec; 111(6):1846-53., 12/2011
  • Holguin, N., Muir, J., Rubin, C., Judex, S. (2009). Short applications of very low-magnitude vibrations attenuate expansion of intervertebral disc during extended bed rest. Spine Journal Jun; 9(6):470-7., 6/2009


The Holguin laboratory focuses on the biomechanics and mechanobiology of the spine undergoing adaptation to aging, mechanical forces, injury and pharmaceutical therapies. Dr. Holguin studies how Wnt signaling, a molecular pathway responsible for cell proliferation and matrix production in many musculoskeletal tissues, may be mediated by mechanical forces to either induce degeneration of the intervertebral disc, its maintenance or repair. The techniques used in the laboratory may be molecular (e.g., PCR, qPCR, Western blots, Raman Spectroscopy), histologic (e.g., staining, IHC, fluorochrome histomorphometry), radiographic (e.g., DEXA, microCT), and biomechanical (e.g., spinal-unit tension-compression, indentation)