The McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine held its 2012 Retreat March 4-7, 2012. The focus was on peer-to-peer networking, and the forum provided many chances to explore collaborative opportunities with other researchers and participating guests and external partners who are working to bring regenerative medicine technologies to clinical use.
The participation and contributions of the guests and external collaborators - along with McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine faculty and trainees - provided for insightful discussions and identification of opportunities for partnership.
In addition to the welcome address, "State of the Institute," from William Wagner, PhD, interim director, McGowan Institute, the retreat program included special presentations by the following guests:
- Leonard Zon, MD, Grousbeck Professor in Hematology/Oncology, Director, Stem Cell Research Program, Children's Hospital-Boston: "Pathways Regulating Stem Cell Self-Renewal and Differentiation"
- Murray Aitken, Executive Director, IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, IMS Health, Inc: "Achieving the Full Potential of Regenerative Medicine: The Role of Healthcare Data to Support Commercial Success and Patient Care"
Also, a segment of the retreat featured three patients who recently benefitted from medical technologies developed by McGowan Institute affiliated faculty. In addition to hearing from the scientists and/or clinicians involved with the treatments, the audience heard from the patients about their experiences before and after their medical procedures. The guest patients were:
- Sheila Advento, first woman double-hand transplant recipient (with Vijay Gorantla, MD, PhD, associate professor of surgery in the Department of Surgery, Division of Plastic Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh, and administrative medical director of the Pittsburgh Reconstructive Transplant Program at UPMC)
- Sergeant Ronald Strang, ECM-induced regeneration of muscle tissue (with Stephen Badylak, DVM, PhD, MD, deputy director, McGowan Institute, professor of surgery, University of Pittsburgh, and director, McGowan Institute Center for Pre-Clinical Tissue Engineering, and J. Peter Rubin, MD, chief of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh, co-director of the Adipose Stem Cell Center and co-director of the UPMC Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Center)
- Matt Uram, first burn patient treated with the skin gun burn therapy (with Jörg Gerlach, MD, PhD, professor, Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, and head of the Bioreactor Group)
The Retreat program also included a great collection of scientific presentations given by these invited researchers from other institutions and agencies (in alphabetical order):
- Joelle Amedee, PhD, Research Professor and Director at Inserm, Université Bordeaux Segalen: "Bone Tissue Engineering; Cell-Based or Cell-Free Scaffold?"
- Gary An, PhD, Adjunct Associate Professor in Surgery-Trauma/Critical Care, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine: "A Translational Systems Biology Approach to Inflammation and Wound Healing"
- Stelios Andreadis, PhD, Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering, State University of New York – Buffalo: "Adult and Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells for Engineering Vascular Tissues"
- Jonathan Cheetham, VetMB, PhD, DACVS, Research Scientist, Department of Clinical Sciences, Cornell University, College of Veterinary Medicine: "The Need for a Regenerative Approach to Restore Laryngeal Function"
- John A. Curci, MD, FACS, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Washington University in St. Louis, Associate Program Director, Vascular Surgery, Staff Surgeon, John Cochran VAMC: "Structural Basis of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm"
- William Fissell, MD, Associate Staff, Departments of Biomedical Engineering and of Nephrology and Hypertension, Cleveland Clinic Foundation: "Rationale for the Development of an Implantable Bioartificial Kidney (Inadequacy of Chronic Dialysis, Insufficient Organs, etc.)"
- Robert F. Gilmour, Jr., PhD, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education, Professor of Physiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University: "Low Energy Anti-fibrillation Pacing: No Pain, Low Gain"
- William R. Heineman, PhD, Distinguished Research Professor, College of Arts & Sciences, University of Cincinnati: "Hydrogen Measurements In Gas Cavities Around Corroding Magnesium Alloy Implants"
- Scott Hollister, PhD, Professor of Bioengineering and Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan: "Modular Scaffold Engineering for Craniofacial Reconstruction"
- David Kaplan, PhD, Stern Family Professor of Engineering, Professor and Chair, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, Director, Bioengineering and Biotechnology Center, Tufts University: "ASCs in Tissue Engineering"
- Mark S. Kindy, PhD, Professor, Department of Neurosciences, Medical University of South Carolina: "The Role of Extracellular Matrix and Stem Cells in Regeneration Following CNS Injuries"
- Diego Mantovani, PhD, Director, Laboratoire de biomatériaux et bioingénierie, L'Université Laval: "Degradable Metals: A New Class of Biomaterials for Innovative Medical Devices?"
- Scott Morley, Vice President, Alung: "Update on Respiratory Support Technologies"
- Igor Nasonkin, PhD, Senior Research Fellow, National Eye Institute: "Stem Cell Transplantation into Mammalian Retina"
- Bruno Péault, PhD, Professor, Orthopaedic Surgery, UCLA, Professor and Chair of Vascular Regeneration, Edinburgh University: "Multipotent Stem Cells in Adult Tissues: A Perivascular Legacy"
- Mario Romero-Ortega, PhD, Associate Professor of Bioengineering, University of Texas, Arlington: "Signal Decay and Axon Targeting in Peripheral Nerve Interfaces"
- Richard K. Shields, PT, PhD, FAPTA, Professor and Chair, Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa: "Capacity of Paralyzed Tissues: Influence of Strategically Dosed Stress"
- Anand Swaroop, PhD, Senior Investigator and Chief, Neurobiology, Neurodegeneration and Repair Laboratory, National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health: "Cell-Based Treatment Modalities for Blinding Retinal Neurodegenerative Diseases"
- Alexander J. Travis, VMD, PhD, Associate Professor of Reproductive Biology, Baker Institute for Animal Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University: "Development of Transgenic Canine Models for Preclinical Studies"
- Patrick Tresco, PhD, Professor and Chair of Bioengineering, University of Utah: "Modeling the Brain Tissue Response to Neural Interfaces: Towards Informed Design"
- Alan S. Waggoner, PhD, Department of Biological Sciences, Director, Molecular Biosensor and Imaging Program, Carnegie Mellon University; Co-Founder: Biological Detection Systems; Cellomics; Sharp Edge Labs: "Getting in the Driver's Seat – Entrepreneurial-Academic Career"
- Daniel J. Weiss, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Pulmonary and Critical Care Division, Department of Medicine, University of Vermont College of Medicine: "Bioengineering the Lung"
- Frank Witte, MD, PhD, Associate Prof. Exp. Orthopedics, Manager Implant Immunology, Hannover Medical School: "Methods to Investigate Mg Corrosion In-vivo"
Again this year, the University of Pittsburgh Office of Enterprise Development (OED) hosted the "Innovator Elevator Pitch." This event consisted of a series of scheduled brief presentations from participating students on the value of their technology to an audience which included industry participants and venture capitalists. Pictured along with Andrew Remes, PhD, associate director of the OED, are this year's winners of project funds:
- First place: Da-Tren Chou /Amy Chaya – OsteoMag: Degradable Metallic Bone Fixation (The students work with Prashant Kumta, PhD, the Edward R. Weidlein Chair at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering and professor in the Departments of BioEngineering, Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, and Charles Sfeir, DDS, PhD, associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh Department of Oral Medicine and Pathology and secondary appointments within the departments of Biomedical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, respectively.)
- Second place: Satish Singh– Resorbable Calcium Phosphate Putty (ReCaPP) (Satish works in Dr. Kumta's laboratory.)
This event was a great opportunity to present the potential value of emerging technologies. The event was judged by the audience. The panel members, who provided feedback to each of the presenters, were:
- Michael Lang, Executive in Residence, Office of Enterprise Development
- Pratap S. Khanwilkar, PhD, Professor, Bioengineering and Coulter Program Director
The OED will transfer funds to the winning investigators' accounts following submission to the OED of a spending plan (project description, budget, timeline) that the OED will approve. The money is only to be spent on activities that further the technology toward commercialization and may include for example market assessment, prototype development, and animal testing. The research can be at any stage but must be able to demonstrate that the technology has potential for commercialization. At the completion of the project the investigator will submit a report to the OED. At the end of the project the investigator will demonstrate how the award has been used to bring their technology closer to commercialization.
The poster session, which had more entries than any other Retreat, was effective in introducing the focus of the Retreat and interests of the faculty and the guests. Kacey Marra, PhD, associate professor, Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, director of the Plastic Surgery Laboratory as well as co-director of the Adipose Stem Cell Center, and her committee organized the session and judged the posters. The winners of the poster session were:
Category: Tissue Engineering
- First Place: Tissue-engineered organized dentin-pulp complexes require proper cell-cell communication. F.N. Syed-Picard, T. Jayaraman, R.S.K. Lam, E. Beniash, C. Sfeir
- Honorable Mention: The effect of source animal age upon the in-vivo remodeling characteristics of an extracellular matrix scaffold. Brian Sicari, Scott A. Johnson, Bernard Siu, Peter Crapo, Kerry Daly, Hongbin Jiang, Chris Medberry, Steve Tottey, Neill Turner, Stephen Badylak
Category: Cellular Therapies
- First Place: A one, two finish of ß-catenin: targeting the synthesis and activity of ß-catenin in hepatocellular carcinoma by novel drugs and peptide-nucleic acids. Evan Delgado, Harshitha Mannam, Stephen Strom, Raman Bhal, Danith Ly, Gabriela Mustata, Paul Monga
- Honorable Mention: Loss of ß-catenin in hepatocytes leads to paradoxical increase in DEN/PB induced HCC. Prince Awuah, SP Monga
Category: Medical Devices
- First Place: Biomechanical evaluation of bioabsorbable polymer interference screws for ACL reconstruction at time zero and 12 weeks of healing in a goat model. K.E. Kim, M.M. Tei, A.N. Pickering, K.F. Farraro, S.L-Y. Woo
- Honorable Mention: Bioactive hollow fiber membranes coated with chitosan and carbonic anhydrase for artificial lung applications. Kimmel JD, Arazawa DA, Federspiel WJ(not pictured)
- First Place: Effect of geometry on stress distribution in the Heinike-Mikulicz strictureplasty. Alkiviadis Tsamis, Luka Pocivavsek, David A. Vorp
- Honorable Mention: A multiscale, agent-based computational model of liver inflammation, cirrhosis, and cancer. Joyeeta Dutta-Moscato, Alexey Solovyev, Qi Mi, Taichiro
Nishikawa, Alejandro Soto-Gutierrez, Ira Fox, Yoram Vodovotz
Last but not least, winners of the random number drawings included Chris Pekor, Jason Tchao, and Jacqueline Bliley. Prizes were courtesy of Nemacolin Woodlands.
Special thanks are extended to all who made this year's Retreat a success!
See full Retreat Program here