Dr. Alan Wells Receives Provost’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine faculty member Alan Wells, PhD, received the 2013 Provost’s Award for Mentoring for his efforts in providing outstanding mentorship to his doctoral students. Dr. Wells was one of four University of Pittsburgh recipients.
DOD Highlights Breast Cancer Research of McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine Faculty Member
The research efforts of McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine faculty member Alan Wells, MD, the Thomas J Gill III professor of pathology and the vice-chairman of the Department of Pathology, the medical director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Central Laboratory Services, Incorporated, a professor of bioengineering and computational and systems biology (second appointments), and the staff pathologist at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, were recently highlighted on the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP) website. The BCRP challenges the scientific community to design research that will address the urgency of ending breast cancer. Specifically, the BCRP seeks to accelerate high-impact research with clinical relevance, encourage innovation and stimulate creativity, facilitate multidisciplinary collaborations, and support future breast cancer leaders.
Students from Yadong Wang Biomaterial Foundry Lab Receive Whitaker Awards
University of Pittsburgh graduating senior Lisa Volpatti and doctoral candidate Noah Johnson—both student researchers affiliated with the lab of McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine faculty member Yadong Wang, PhD, professor of bioengineering in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering—have received awards from the Whitaker International Program, which sends emerging U.S. leaders in bioengineering overseas to undertake self-designed projects that will enhance their careers and develop their international ties. This is the fourth consecutive year that Pitt students have received Whitaker awards.
Clinical Research Forum Awards Brain Computer Interface Technology
A groundbreaking project at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and UPMC – which was initially published in the online version of The Lancet,—described the brain-computer interface (BCI) technology and training programs that allowed a patient to intentionally move a robotic arm, turn and bend a wrist, and close a hand for the first time in 9 years through a neural interface, has been selected to receive one of the Clinical Research Forum’s Annual Top 10 Clinical Research Achievement Awards. The project team included McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine faculty members Andrew Schwartz, PhD, and Elizabeth Tyler-Kabara, MD, PhD (pictured), and affiliated faculty member Michael Boninger, MD. The awards recognize research teams that, in 2012, published compelling examples of the scientific innovation that results from the nation’s investment in clinical research that can benefit human health and welfare, according to the Clinical Research Forum (CRF).
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine Badylak Lab Award-Winning Students
Three bioengineering PhD candidates in the laboratory of McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine deputy director Stephen Badylak, DVM, PhD, MD, professor of surgery, University of Pittsburgh, recently received awards for their continuing education and research pursuits. Those honored include:
Vision Restoration: Regenerative Medicine in Ophthalmology
The 3rd Annual International Conference on Vision Restoration: Regenerative Medicine in Ophthalmology will be held June 10-11, 2013, at the University Club at the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine Affiliated Faculty Member Recognized by the ISMRM
For his major research contributions to the field of magnetic resonance in biomedical sciences, Chien Ho, PhD, the Alumni Professor of Biological Sciences in Carnegie Mellon University’s Mellon College of Science, director of the Pittsburgh NMR Center for Biomedical Research, and McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member, has been awarded the 2013 Gold Medal of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM).
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine Affiliated Faculty Member Receives Rare Honor
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the governing body over its Games the same as the International Olympic Committee for its Winter and Summer Olympics, on May 4 in Bonn, Germany, recently announced that it is bestowing an honor for the first time to an American researcher who also is a former Paralympics medalist.
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine Holds Its Annual Scientific Retreat
The McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine held its 2013 Scientific Retreat March 7-10, 2013. The focus was on peer-to-peer networking, and the retreat provided many opportunities to explore collaborative endeavors with other researchers, participating guests, and external partners who are working to bring regenerative medicine technologies to clinical use.
First “Breathing Lung” Transplant on East Coast Using OCS Lung Performed
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine faculty member Christian Bermudez, MD, UPMC’s chief of cardiothoracic transplantation and assistant professor of surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, is the principal investigator of a study where UPMC surgeons performed a “breathing lung” transplant using a portable machine that provides a constant supply of blood and nutrients to the donor organs. Doctors say this has the potential to keep donor lungs healthier and viable for longer than ever before.
The Louis J. Fox Center for Vision Restoration (Fox Center) of UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine is the first national, comprehensive, multi-disciplinary research and clinical program dedicated to ocular regenerative medicine. The Fox Center focuses on the restoration of sight through tissue regeneration, transplantation, and technology. Fox Center affiliates optimize quality of life for those challenged by vision loss and insure that individuals and their loved ones know they are not alone in addressing this challenge. Fox Center researchers seek to maximize participation in work, community, and society for those who lose their sight for any reason. Finally, their goal is to educate the sighted community on the prevalence of vision loss in America and around the world.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review recently highlighted two ongoing clinical trials featuring the technologies of McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty members. As reported by author Luis Fabregas, “Scientists [all over the world] are working to build organs to replace those that have been damaged beyond repair. In recent years, tissue-engineered skin has been used to close gaping wounds, temporarily cover burns, and even treat foot ulcers in diabetics.” In Pittsburgh, projects at the McGowan Institute involve the use of a material called the extracellular matrix (ECM) to repair deformities in muscles and soft tissues caused by injury, disease, or wounds. Another research project uses fat-derived stem cells to repair facial defects after trauma and after a craniotomy, a cut that opens the skull to access the brain.
Dr. Peter Strick Receives Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Peter Strick, PhD, Distinguished Professor and chair of the School of Medicine’s Department of Neurobiology, also professor in the Department of Psychiatry, and co-director of the Center for Neuroscience and the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, received the Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award which annually recognizes outstanding scholarly accomplishments of members of the University’s faculty. Any tenured or tenure-stream, full-time faculty member who has served at least 3 years at Pitt is eligible. Senior scholar awardees include faculty members who have achieved pre-eminence in their field and have compiled a substantial and continuing record of outstanding research and scholarly activity.
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine-Developed Technology Meets Funding Milestone
Several years ago, McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine faculty members Eric Beckman, PhD (pictured), George M. Bevier Professor of Engineering in the University of Pittsburgh Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, and Michael Buckley, MD, oral and maxillofacial surgeon, invented a novel medical adhesive technology. The new adhesive—now known as TissuGlu®—was designed to meet a market demand for a strong, safe tissue adhesive to improve the wound closure process. The product positions tissues for optimal healing while minimizing fluid accumulation. To move the University of Pittsburgh-developed technology towards clinical use, Cohera Medical, Inc.® was formed, and the invention rights were licensed by the University to Cohera.
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine Affiliated Faculty Member Studies Cerebral Aneurysms
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Anne Robertson, PhD (pictured), has been awarded a $423,852 R21 grant from the National Institute of Health for a research program entitled “The link between hemodynamics and wall structure in cerebral aneurysms.” Her research team includes Juan Cebral, PhD of George Mason University, Khaled Abdel Aziz, MD of Allegheny General Hospital, and McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Simon Watkins, PhD, founder and director of the Center for Biologic Imaging, director of the Graduate Program, and a professor (with tenure) within the Department of Cell Biology and Physiology, University of Pittsburgh, and a member of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI).
Regenerative Medicine Technology Meets Funding Milestone
Several years ago, McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine faculty member Eric Beckman, PhD, George M. Bevier Professor of Engineering in the University of Pittsburgh Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, and Michael Buckley, MD, oral and maxillofacial surgeon, invented a novel medical adhesive technology. The new adhesive—now known as TissuGlu®—was designed to meet a market demand for a strong, safe tissue adhesive to improve the wound closure process. The product positions tissues for optimal healing while minimizing fluid accumulation. To move the University of Pittsburgh-developed technology towards clinical use, Cohera Medical, Inc.® was formed, and the invention rights were licensed by the University to Cohera.
ACL Reconstruction: Four Points from Dr. Freddie Fu
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine faculty member Freddie Fu, MD, David Silver Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), is known worldwide for his pioneering surgical techniques to treat sports-related injuries to the knee and shoulder and his extensive scientific and clinical research in the biomechanics of such injuries. Dr. Fu performs surgery at UPMC and sees patients at its Center for Sports Medicine. Because of his reputation, Dr. Fu attracts both athletic and non-athletic patients from all over the globe and has been featured in many publications.
Dr. Steven Little Honored with Chancellor’s Awards
The McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine congratulates faculty member Steven Little, PhD, chair of the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, associate professor, and Bicentennial Alumni Faculty Fellow of the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, as a recipient of the 2013 Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award and also previously the recipient of the Chancellor’s Research Award (junior category). Dr. Little is the first Swanson School of Engineering faculty to win in both of these categories. In the Swanson School, Brian Norman, PhD, also was selected to win a 2013 Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award.
Study: Biomarkers May Predict Acute Kidney Injury in Critically Ill Patients
An international, multi-center study led by UPMC researchers—including McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member John Kellum, MD, a critical care physician at UPMC and professor of critical care at the University of Pittsburgh—found biomarkers that can tell a physician if a patient is at risk for acute kidney injury (AKI), a condition that often affects those in intensive care and can occur after serious infections, surgery, or taking certain medications. The results, now available online and published in the journal Critical Care, provide insight into the potentially deadly condition that affects up to 7 percent of all hospitalized patients.
Mechanism to Halt Cancer Cell Growth, Discover Potential Cancer Therapy Revealed
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Simon Watkins, PhD—founder and director of the Center for Biologic Imaging, director of the Graduate Program, and a professor (with tenure) within the Department of Cell Biology and Physiology, University of Pittsburgh, and a member of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI)—and UPCI researchers have uncovered a technique to halt the growth of cancer cells, a discovery that led them to a potential new anti-cancer therapy. When deprived of a key protein, some cancer cells are unable to properly divide, a finding described recently. This research is supported in part by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Krzysztof Matyjaszewski to Receive Inaugural AkzoNobel North America Science Award
Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, PhD, the J.C. Warner Professor of the Natural Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University’s (CMU) Mellon College of Science and a McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member, has been named the first recipient of the AkzoNobel North America Science Award for his cutting-edge polymer chemistry research. The award is given by AkzoNobel, the world’s largest paints and coatings company, and the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society.
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine Research and Its People Receive Awards for Excellence
The Pittsburgh Carnegie Science Center established the Awards for Excellence program in 1997 to recognize and promote outstanding science and technology achievements in Western Pennsylvania. The Carnegie Science Awards have honored the accomplishments of more than 350 committed individuals and organizations that have improved lives through their contributions in science and technology. Award winners were announced on January 31, 2013. On May 3, 2013, at the Carnegie Music Hall the following award recipients will be honored for their tremendous work and its impact on the vitality in the region:
By The McGowan Institute For Regenerative Medicine | News Archive, Vision | January 20, 2013
Advances in Ophthalmology
January is glaucoma awareness month; over 2.7 million Americans, and over 60 million people worldwide, have glaucoma (vision affected by glaucoma pictured). Experts estimate that half of them don’t know they have it. Combined with our aging population, we can see an epidemic of blindness looming if we don’t raise awareness about the importance of regular eye examinations to preserve vision. The World Health Organization estimates that 4.5 million people worldwide are blind due to glaucoma.
Stem Cells Found to Heal Damaged Artery in Pre-Clinical Lab Study
In a recently published manuscript, scientists from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center—including McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Gerald Schatten, PhD, professor and vice chair of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of Pittsburgh, deputy director at Magee-Womens Research Institute, and director of the Pittsburgh Development Center—and the Texas Biomedical Research Institute have for the first time demonstrated that baboon embryonic stem cells can be programmed to completely restore a severely damaged artery. These early results show promise for eventually developing stem cell therapies to restore human tissues or organs damaged by age or disease.
Oscillating Gel Gives Synthetic Materials the Ability to “Speak”
Self-moving gels can give synthetic materials the ability to “act alive” and mimic primitive biological communication, University of Pittsburgh researchers, led by McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Anna Balazs, PhD, have found. In a paper published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the Pitt research team demonstrates that a synthetic system can reconfigure itself through a combination of chemical communication and interaction with light.
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine Affiliated Faculty MemberElected a Fellow of ASME
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Richard E. Debski, PhD, associate professor of bioengineering in the Swanson School of Engineering, as well as the director of the Robotics Group in the Musculoskeletal Research Center, University of Pittsburgh, was elected a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME.)
Study Identifies Reasons to Opt Out of Bone-Marrow Donor Registries
According to a new study by McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Mary Amanda Dew, PhD, professor of psychiatry, psychology, epidemiology, and biostatistics at the University of Pittsburgh and also the director of the Clinical Epidemiology Program at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, and fellow researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, race-specific factors, including religious objections and less trust that donated tissues will be allocated fairly, may help to explain why potential minority donors opt out of bone-marrow donor registries at far higher rates than whites. Additionally, they found that ambivalence about donation was the strongest predictor of opting out, regardless of race.
By The McGowan Institute For Regenerative Medicine | News Archive, Vision | December 17, 2012
Regenerative Medicine in Vision Research
At the UPMC Eye Center, much of the research focuses on regenerative medicine, a field that started with restoration of heart tissue in the 1990s and has since included research into the use of stem cell therapy in vision restoration. The Louis J. Fox Center for Vision Restoration of UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh is studying what can be done to treat the most common diseases associated with vision loss, including macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and corneal scarring.
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine faculty are trying to open a new front in the battle against gum disease, the leading cause of tooth loss in adults and sometimes termed the most serious oral health problem of the 21st century.
Excellence, Strong Research Help UPMC Reach 3,000 Heart, Lung Transplants
William Ferry almost never made it to UPMC for the transplant that would eventually save his life. Nervous about a surgery that had been performed so little in 1980, Ferry contemplated turning the car around and not showing up when word came that a donor heart had been found for him.
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine faculty member Yadong Wang, PhD, associate professor of bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh, has led a study that resulted in arteries grown with elasticity outside the body, which are the closest to resembling natural blood vessels.
Highlights from the Second Annual Symposium on Regenerative Rehabilitation
A team of McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty members and the Institute’s director recently coordinated and celebrated the 2nd Annual Symposium on Regenerative Rehabilitation held on November 12 & 13, 2012, at the University Club in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh. The event attracted approximately 120 participants – an international audience comprised of scientists, educators, rehabilitation clinicians, and students/ trainees. The overall objective of this symposium series is to highlight and provide evidence for the synergistic relationship between regenerative medicine and rehabilitation, and to promote cross-fertilization between these two fields.
Two McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty members have been elected Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). AAAS Fellows are elected by their peers in recognition of the recipients’ distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. Honored with this prestigious title are: