A new group of graduate students and their advisers is joining the drive to increase diversity and inclusion in science. Emily Ackerman, PhD student, and her adviser, McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Jason Shoemaker, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, is one of those student-adviser pairs. Ms. Ackerman is a PhD student studying network virology and host immune responses in Dr. Shoemaker’s lab.
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member George Gittes, MD, a nationally recognized pediatric surgeon and well-established basic scientist, has been appointed director of the Richard King Mellon Foundation Institute for Pediatric Research and co-scientific director at UPMC Children’s Hospital. He also will assume the title of surgeon-in-chief emeritus.
The lab of McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Michel Modo, PhD, Professor in the Department of Radiology at the University of Pittsburgh with secondary appointments in the Department of Bioengineering and the Center for Neural Basis of Cognition, recently published a paper in Scientific Reports that characterizes the biomechanics aspects of cell injections into the brain. Dr. Modo shares the paper with the regenerative medicine community as it conceptualizes the delivery of therapeutic products through a small-bore needle, an issue commonly neglected for these types of therapies. The abstract of the paper reads:
More than one in 10 children hospitalized with sepsis die, but when a series of clinical treatments and tests is completed within an hour of its detection, the chances of survival increase considerably, according to a new analysis led by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and co-authored by McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Derek Angus, MD, MPH. Dr. Angus is Chair of the Department of Critical Care Medicine of both the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the UPMC Healthcare System.
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine is pleased to announce that Catalina Pineda Molina, a doctoral student within the Bioengineering Department at the University of Pittsburgh and a graduate researcher in the laboratory of McGowan Institute Deputy Director Stephen Badylak, DVM, PhD, MD, will be awarded the 2018 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Outstanding Student Award during the upcoming 2018 TERMIS World Congress. The 2018 TERMIS World Congress is scheduled for September 4-7, 2018, and will be held in Kyoto, Japan.
“If you had a patient in need of a dentist, which dentist would you refer them to?”
This is the question asked to thousands of dentists to help determine who the topDentists should be. Dentists and specialists are asked to take into consideration years of experience, continuing education, manner with patients, use of new techniques and technologies, and of course physical results. Pittsburgh Magazine’s annual list, which contains 376 dentists across 11 specialties, includes 3 McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty members:
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Shilpa Sant, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, has received a 7-year R37 MERIT Award from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), NIH, for her project entitled, “Three-dimensional organoid models to study breast cancer progression.” This grant is funded by the NCI under the Cancer Tissue Engineering Collaborative (TEC) Research Program that aims to support the development and characterization of state-of-the-art biomimetic tissue-engineered technologies for cancer research. The total funding for the first 5 years is $2.7 million.
Chronic brain implants are long-term devices used to record brain activity or stimulate neurons with electrical pulses and are a crucial component of neuroprosthetics. The performance of these devices depends on the host tissue response, which is often inflammatory and results in device performance degradation. McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Takashi Kozai, PhD, assistant professor of bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, was awarded an NIH R21 grant to improve device design by investigating the role of oligodendrocytes and oligodendrocyte progenitor cells in this process.
Mario Cattabiani III, The Pitt News, recently reported on University of Pittsburgh’s first-ever Seed Grants. Pitt received 171 applications and from that group selected 23 projects for awards, granting a total of approximately $1 million. One project selected was submitted by McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member, Kurt Weiss, MD, Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery in the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Division of Musculoskeletal Oncology, who received a $50,000 grant to fund the Pittsburgh Sarcoma Research Collaborative, or PSaRC — a project that will aim to develop new therapeutic strategies and eventually improve sarcoma patient care and outcomes.
In the Pitt Summer 2018 edition, author Jennie Dorris highlights the career paths of McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member James Funderburgh, PhD, Professor of Ophthalmology and Cell Biology & Physiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and his wife, Martha Funderburgh, MPH, Lab Manager and Sr. Research Technician, Corneal Cell Biology Laboratory, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. The story provides “an exciting outlook for a research team inspired by personal experience and driven by the desire to help others see a brighter future.”
The microJoint, a three-dimensional model that replicates a human joint on a small scale, is under development in Pittsburgh. Once completed, it could have the potential to revolutionize the treatment of conditions related to joint complications, such as osteoarthritis. A radically new way of thinking — and a culture that encourages risk-taking — were key to its development.
When an institution encourages the free flow of ideas and doesn’t rigidly define the roles of its researchers, new and better solutions are the result. And free-thinking scientists are the sort of people who are attracted to a collaborative environment that encourages risk-taking. These are the enironments where ideas are grown.
The University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Medical Innovation (CMI) awarded grants totaling $105,000 to five research groups through its 2018 Round-1 Pilot Funding Program for Early Stage Medical Technology Research and Development. Four of these research groups involve the expertise of McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty members; the projects include
Duquesne University professor John Pollock, PhD, has received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring to honor his career in educating students from universities to grade schools. Dr. Pollock is an affiliated faculty member of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine congratulates George Hussey, PhD, and Jenna Dziki, PhD student, on their newly published Nature Reviews Materials article entitled, “Extracellular matrix-based materials for regenerative medicine.” It is featured on the cover of the July 2018 issue of the journal with a 3D image of the matrix network by Visuals Unlimited, Inc./Dr. Edna Cukierman.
The American Society for Artificial Internal Organs (ASAIO) selected Alexandra May, a chemical engineering graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh, as a finalist for the Willem Kolff Award at its 64th annual meeting. The award, named after the late Dutch physician who invented the original artificial kidney, recognizes the top abstracts at each annual meeting.
In his opinion piece for STAT, McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Derek Angus, MD, MPH, Chair of the Department of Critical Care Medicine of both the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the UPMC Healthcare System, states:
Aging Cell’s Best Paper Prize for 2017 honored the efforts of numerous McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty members. The paper entitled “Aging of the skeletal muscle extracellular matrix drives a stem cell fibrogenic conversion,” appeared in the June 2017 issue of Aging Cell. The prize is awarded annually by the Anatomical Society on the recommendation of the Editor-in-Chiefs to the Lead Author and Co-Authors and is awarded to the paper considered to be the most outstanding publication in Aging Cell in that year by either a member or non-member of the Society.
When it comes to diagnosing suspected endometrial cancer and several other endometrial pathologies in post-menopausal women, physicians in the U.S. have two choices: Pipelle biopsy, a minimally invasive procedure that has a 60 to 80 percent chance of success, or a more expensive, riskier procedure that works nearly every time called dilation and curettage (D&C).
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Steven Belle, PhD, MScHyg, co-director of the Epidemiology Data Center at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, has been named a Fellow of the Society for Clinical Trials, a prestigious honor that only a few scientists achieve each year.
Buprenorphine (BUP) is approved for the treatment of opioid addiction. The current dosing regimen of BUP in pregnant women is based on recommendations designed for non-pregnant adults, but physiological changes during pregnancy may alter BUP exposure and efficacy.
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member David Vorp, PhD, Associate Dean for Research and John A. Swanson Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, was named a Fellow of the American Heart Association (FAHA) in recognition of his innovative and sustained contributions in scholarship, education, and volunteer service to the organization. Dr. Vorp’s election was conferred by the Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology (ATVB) recognizing his work in those fields.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) at UPMC has proven to be an effective treatment for involuntary movements associated with Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy, such as tremors, slowness of movement, rigidity, and problems with walking and balance. DBS is also approved for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) treatment under a Humanitarian Device Exemption.
Can nanomedicine play a role in the future of pain treatment? Several answers to this question were presented during the American Pain Society Scientific Summit in Anaheim, California, earlier this year. McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Jelena Janjic, PhD, Associate Professor of Pharmaceutics in the Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Mylan School of Pharmacy at Duquesne University and the Founder and Co-Director of the Chronic Pain Research Consortium at Duquesne, provided one solution through her work on targeted nanomedicine for chronic pain treatment.
More than half of patients hospitalized for a concussion receive no follow-up care within three months of their discharge, according to a national multi-center study published recently. McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member David Okonkwo, MD, PhD, is a co-author on the study. Dr. Okonkwo is Professor and Executive Vice Chair of Neurological Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, with a secondary appointment as Professor of Sports Medicine and Nutrition. He serves as Director of Neurotrauma and of the Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Program at UPMC. In addition, he is the Clinical Director of the Brain Trauma Research Center. Dr. Okonkwo is also a member of the Medical Staff for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Families of critically ill hospital patients report higher satisfaction with clinician communication and a better perception of patient-centered care when the care team uses a low-cost strategy involving intensive emotional support and frequent meetings, according to the results of a University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine randomized trial presented at the American Thoracic Society (ATS) 2018 International Conference in San Diego and scheduled for publication in the June 21 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Rory Cooper, PhD, founding director and VA senior research career scientist of the Human Engineering Research Laboratories in Pitt’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, was awarded the American Institute for Biomedical Engineering’s 2018 Advocacy Award for outstanding and lasting contributions to humanity and the field of bioengineering.
The Controlled Release Society has announced that McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine faculty member and University of Pittsburgh professor Steven Little, PhD, is the recipient of its 2018 Young Investigator Award. The honor annually recognizes one individual in the world, 40 years of age or younger, for outstanding contributions in the science of controlled release. Dr. Little is the William Kepler Whiteford Endowed Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering.
In the world of ophthalmology, researchers have always made vision restoration by retinal repair their goal. Today, this goal is more obtainable than ever through modern technologies and medical practices, and the first successful procedures have already taken place.
As reported by Gary Rotstein, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the CDC says about one of every four older adults falls in a year. In 2016 those resulted in 29,668 deaths, and the mortality rate attached to such falls has been increasing about 3 percent annually.
Overall antibiotic use was not curbed by giving physicians the results of biomarker tests in patients with suspected lower respiratory tract infections, according to findings from the Procalcitonin Antibiotic Consensus Trial (ProACT). The national, randomized clinical trial was coordinated by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The results, published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine, were presented at the ATS 2018 International Conference in San Diego. McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty members Derek Angus, MD, MPH, and John Kellum, MD, are co-authors on the study.
With cardiovascular disease on the rise and costs heading to $1 trillion in the U.S., groundbreaking developments in diagnostics, treatments and care are urgently needed. To assure that effective innovations are rapidly introduced into the health care system to benefit patients, and with evidence to demonstrate their impact, the American Heart Association, together with Philips and UPMC, announced recently the launch of Cardeation Capital, a $30 million collaborative venture capital fund designed to spur health care innovation in heart disease and stroke care. Managed by Aphelion Capital, each of the three organizations has committed $10 million to the fund to bring products and solutions to market that address critical areas of health care delivery and health management.
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine Deputy Director Stephen Badylak, DVM, PhD, MD, Professor of Surgery and Director of the Center for Pre-Clinical Tissue Engineering within the Institute, was the Keynote Speaker at the World Advanced Therapies & Regenerative Medicine Congress (WATRMC), May 16-18, London, United Kingdom.
Life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias often occur after a heart attack, as the scar tissue can interfere with the spread of electrical impulses that activate the heart. An international research team under the leadership of the University Hospital Bonn in collaboration with colleagues from the Cornell University and the University of Pittsburgh has now developed a method to improve electrical transmission in the heart by transferring a single gene, connexin43, to cells that form the infarct scar. The results are now published in Scientific Reports. McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Guy Salama, PhD, Professor within the Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, is a co-author on the study.
New York University (NYU) Langone Health’s Rusk Rehabilitation hosted its fourth annual research symposium recently featuring several renowned speakers, including McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Michael Boninger, MD, Professor and UPMC Endowed Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Boninger, a leader in shaping rehabilitation medicine’s role in the changing world of healthcare, is this year’s recipient of the Rusk Award for Leadership and Innovation in PM&R. Dr. Boninger received this award for his contributions for individuals with disabilities through the development of assistive, rehabilitative, and regenerative technologies.
LyGenesis, Inc., a biotechnology company developing innovative technology for organ regeneration, announced recently that they have raised $3 million in Series A financing from Juvenescence, Ltd. LyGenesis’ technology uses lymph nodes as bioreactors to regrow functioning organs within a patient’s own body. The financing will enable LyGenesis to complete the final preclinical work required to enable human clinical trials, which will initially focus on patients with end stage liver disease.
Recent research published in the journal Circulation estimated the impact of lifestyle factors on premature mortality and life expectancy in the US population. The researchers recommended the following 5 simple lifestyle changes: