McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine deputy director Stephen Badylak, DVM, PhD, MD, professor in the Department of Surgery and director of the Center for Pre-Clinical Tissue Engineering within the McGowan Institute, was honored with the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award from Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society-Americas (TERMIS-AM). The TERMIS-AM Lifetime Achievement Award was established to recognize an individual who has contributed immensely to the tissue engineering and regenerative medicine field. The award is presented to an individual whose work has impacted and assisted with laying the foundation stones for the field.
William Federspiel, PhD, Director of the Medical Devices Laboratory of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the William Kepler Whiteford Professor in the Department of Bioengineering with secondary appointments in Chemical Engineering and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, has been named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). Election to NAI Fellow status is the highest professional distinction accorded solely to academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society. Academic inventors and innovators elected to the rank of NAI Fellow status have been nominated by their peers for outstanding contributions to innovation in areas such as patents and licensing, innovative discovery and technology, significant impact on society, and support and enhancement of innovation. The 2019 Fellows Gala and Induction Ceremony will take place on April 10, 2020, at The Heard Museum in Phoenix, AZ.
The US-Ireland Alliance recently announced the 21st Class of George J. Mitchell Scholars and among the finalists was McKenzie Sicke, a bioengineering undergraduate at the University of Pittsburgh who works in the lab of McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine Bryan Brown, PhD, associate professor of bioengineering. In Dr. Brown’s lab, she studies angiogenic response to polypropylene mesh implants in rabbit models. The George J. Mitchell Scholarship Program is a national, competitive scholarship that awards one year of postgraduate study in any discipline offered by institutions of higher learning in Ireland and Northern Ireland to up to 12 students annually.
In celebration of his appointment, McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member John Kellum, MD, Endowed Chair in Critical Care Medicine Research, presented the December 9, 2019, Provost Inaugural Lecture. His presentation was entitled “The Inconvenient Truth About Acute Kidney Injury.”
Cardiol Therapeutics Inc., a leader in the production of pharmaceutical cannabidiol (CBD) products and in the development of innovative cannabidiol medicines for heart disease, announced the formation of the Clinical Steering Committee (CSC) for a Phase 2 international trial in acute myocarditis using its CardiolRx™100 cannabidiol formulation.
The Innovation Institute celebrated the University of Pittsburgh faculty, students and staff who are working to make their ideas and research discoveries have a real-world impact at the 14th Annual Celebration of Innovation, on November 20 at the Petersen Events Center Campus View Club.
The University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine is the first in the nation to establish opioid-free pain management guidelines for the vast majority of procedures performed in all of its clinics.
The dopamine D2 receptor has a previously unobserved role in modulating Wnt expression and control of cell proliferation, according to a new study from the George Washington University (GW) and the University of Pittsburgh. The research, published in Scientific Reports, could have implications for the development of new therapeutics across multiple disciplines including nephrology, endocrinology, and psychiatry. Zachary Freyberg, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of psychiatry and cell biology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and an affiliated faculty member of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, is a senior author on the study.
Sebastian Correa, a junior bioengineering student in the lab of McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Douglas Weber, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh and director of the Rehab Neural Engineering Labs (RNEL), attended the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) National Convention in Phoenix and received the first place award at the Engineering Science Symposium poster competition.
Some of the most challenging medical conditions are acute brain injury and progressive neurodegenerative disease. Aiming to examine these issues, Frontiers in Neuroscience recently published the review article entitled “Bioscaffold-Induced Brain Tissue Regeneration” by 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.
Magee-Womens Research Institute (MWRI) has received $112,500 in funding from A Glimmer of Hope Foundation (GOH) to further research of metastatic breast cancer (MBC) and to enhance patient support services at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital.
The brain is a complex organ full of neurons that work together to help us move, feel, think, and more. A multidisciplinary group from the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is working to expand the amount of information researchers can receive from a neural interface device and received two grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for their collaborative effort.
To commemorate Hypophosphatasia Awareness Day (October 30), Soft Bones, Inc., an organization dedicated to providing information, education and support to those affected by hypophosphatasia (HPP), awarded its tenth annual Maher Family Grant. In commemoration of its tenth anniversary, Soft Bones awarded two grants for the first time ever. McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Dobrawa Napierala, PhD, Associate Professor of Oral Biology at the Center for Craniofacial Regeneration, University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine, is one of this year’s awardees and will study adolescents and adults with HPP.
Pancreatic cancer happens when cells that aren’t normal grow and start to form tumors in the pancreas, a small organ located deep in the belly, behind your stomach. The pancreas makes juices that help your body digest food. It also makes insulin and other hormones that help control your blood sugar.
According to the American Cancer Society, kidney cancer is among the top ten most common cancers in men and women, and clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) – the most common subtype of tumor associated with kidney cancer – accounts for more than 75 percent of cases.
Covestro announced Carnegie Mellon University’s (CMU’s) Newell Washburn, PhD, as the recipient of its global Science Award in recognition of his role in pioneering a scientific innovation that speeds the development of customized polymer formulations. Dr. Washburn, an associate professor of chemistry and biomedical engineering, with a courtesy appointment in the department of materials science and engineering, accepted the award during the Covestro Science Celebration at K 2019 held in Düsseldorf, Germany. Held every three years, K 2019 is the world’s leading trade show for the plastics and rubber industry.
A microelectrode array (MEA) is an implantable device through which neural signals can be obtained or delivered. It is an invaluable tool in neuroscience research and is critical to advancements in brain-computer interface (BCI) research, which has progressed to allow humans to operate robotic devices with their minds.
Surgery can mend congenital heart defects shortly after birth, but those babies will carry a higher risk of heart failure throughout the rest of their lives. Yet, according to a Science Translational Medicine study published by UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh researchers, β-blockers could supplement surgery to regenerate infant heart muscle and mitigate the lasting effects of congenital heart disease.
Magnesium and magnesium alloys have the potential to become a revolutionary material for a variety of industries because of their lightweight structure and ability to quickly biodegrade in water or inside the human body. Researchers, however, are still struggling to process this very reactive metal to eliminate defects that accelerate corrosion.
The 47th Annual Meeting of the Controlled Release Society (CRS) will be held in the Paris Hotel June 27th – July 1st, 2020, in Las Vegas, Nevada. McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine faculty member Steve Little, PhD, a William Kepler Whiteford Endowed Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Immunology, and Ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh, is the Program Chair.
Jenny Blair, writer for PittMed, reports in her article that in April 2019, Pitt began enrolling patients in one of the world’s first trials that combines the electronic health record with a new, efficient, safety-focused randomization process. The system is powered by software created by the Texas-based Berry Consultants. The approach, called REMAP (randomized, embedded, multi-factorial, adaptive platform), may transform the way doctors learn from patients—and how they care for them.
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Warren Ruder, PhD, Associate Professor and William Kepler Whiteford Fellow of Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh, attended the 4th Israeli-American Kavli Frontiers of Science Symposium in Jerusalem, Israel, on September 16-18, 2019. The program’s participants are selected from recipients of prestigious fellowships, awards, and other honors, as well as from nominations by members of the National Academy of Sciences and other participants.
By The McGowan Institute For Regenerative Medicine | Current News, Vision | October 23, 2019
In her article, Elaine Vitone, a writer for PittMed, recently laid out the extraordinary activity arising in Pittsburgh in UPMC’s planned vision and rehabilitation hospital in Uptown, near the UPMC Mercy hospital. The nine-story, 410,000 square-foot facility, which was painstakingly designed to spec with both patients and scientists in mind, will be ready for the entire Ophthalmology Department in 2022.
NeuBase Therapeutics, Inc. is developing the next generation of gene silencing therapies with its flexible, highly specific synthetic antisense oligonucleotides. The proprietary NeuBase peptide-nucleic acid (PNA) antisense oligonucleotide (PATrOL™) platform allows for the rapid development of targeted drugs, increasing the treatment opportunities for the hundreds of millions of people affected by rare genetic diseases, including those that can only be treated through accessing of genomic loci or secondary and tertiary RNA structures. Using PATrOL technology, NeuBase aims to first tackle rare, genetic neurological disorders.
By The McGowan Institute For Regenerative Medicine | CATER, Current News | October 22, 2019
CATER trainee Alexis Nolfi, Dr. Bryan Brown, and their team have won $100,000 through this year’s PInCH challenge. Their project, called CyteSolutions Lens, is one of three to receive the award for their answer to this year’s question, “What is your bold idea to solve a health-related problem?” The CyteSolutions Lens group, which includes Dr. Mangesh Kulkarni, developed a silicone-hydrogel-based contact lens that has been coated with natural biopolymers containing an immune modifying drug for the treatment of dry eye disease. Ms. Nolfi explains, “Dry eye is an exceedingly common condition, and it’s very prevalent. It’s only going to increase as the population continues to age. However, there are currently no effective treatments.” For more information on the project, please see the video available here, and the Pitt News article here.
The State of Cell-Based Therapies for Arthritis and Osteoporosis
A new report highlights the latest advances in cell-based therapies for the treatment of disorders of the musculoskeletal system, such as arthritis and osteoporosis, and it identifies key unanswered questions that should be addressed through ongoing research. The report is published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research and concurrently in the Journal of Orthopaedic Research, and was issued by a joint Task Force of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research and the Orthopaedic Research Society. McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Rocky Tuan, PhD, Vice-Chancellor and President of The Chinese University of Hong Kong and the former Associate Director of the McGowan Institute, is the co-chair of the Task Force.
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Richard Debski, PhD, professor of bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh and the co-director of the Orthopedic Robotics Laboratory, is a member of a team of researchers on a project which received $400K from the NIH to design and test a miniature, implantable, and battery-free sensor to monitor spinal fusion progress after surgery.
The Pitt Innovation Challenge (PInCh®) 2019 focused on bold solutions to an important health problem. The final pitches from teams hoping to win this year’s competition, sponsored by the Clinical & Translational Science Institute, were heard on September 25, 2019, at the University Club. The following winning teams included the efforts of McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty members.
Primary investigators Gwendolyn Sowa, MD, PhD, of Pitt’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute, and McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Nam Vo, PhD, of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, were awarded $21.5 million to establish the Low Back Pain: Biological, Biomechanical, Behavioral Phenotypes Mechanistic Research Center (LB3P MRC), a multidisciplinary research center dedicated to categorizing patients into chronic low back pain subgroups with the goal of targeting treatments specific to individual patients’ pain and reducing the use of opioids.
Each month, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) Journeys of Innovation series tells the stories of inventors or entrepreneurs whose groundbreaking innovations have made a positive difference in the world.
The University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Medical Innovation (CMI) awarded grants totaling $70,000 to three research groups through its 2019 Round-1 Pilot Funding Program for Early Stage Medical Technology Research and Development. McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Carl Snyderman, MD, MBA, is a co-investigator on one of the selected projects, along with Garrett Coyan, MD, a surgery resident in the lab of William Wagner, PhD:
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Rory Cooper, PhD, has been appointed to the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Spinal Cord Research Advisory Committee. Rachel Levine, MD, Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health, notified Dr. Cooper of this honor.
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty members Hang Lin, PhD, and Douglas Weber, PhD, received $1.5 million from the NIH to study the mechanism of osteoarthritis pain and test drugs in a novel microphysiological tissue chip (microJoint). The team will use the microJoint to also assess the impact of opioids on the neural activity and tissue health in the knee joint.
Break any bone in the human body and the body can repair the tissue and fix the damage. Yet tooth enamel — the strongest tissue in the human body — cannot repair itself. Still, our teeth last a lifetime.