This proposal seeks to support a research program in the area of tissue engineering in the musculoskeletal sciences. It is aimed at enriching the infrastructure of a translational research partnership at the University of Rochester. The partnership is between the Department of Orthopaedics and the Department of Biomedical Engineering and bridges the School of Medicine and School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Operationally, the partnership combines the strengths and facilities of two departments dedicated to advancing knowledge for the genesis of neotissues that may be used in the treatment of musculoskeletal pathologies. The physical space for this research program combines the 18,000 square foot fully equipped laboratory of the Center for Musculoskeletal Research with the newly constructed 4-story research and office building (Goergen Hall) for the Department of Biomedical Engineering. The combined strengths of the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Orthopaedics provide an outstanding environment for the development of academic research careers. Specialized programs in mentoring, grant writing, collaborative interactions and scientific technologies make this alliance a fruitful ground for launching and completing translational research programs. This application will use the ARRA P30 mechanism to seek funds to support a new recruit (Dr. Danielle Benoit) to the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Orthopaedics. Dr. Benoit is a young scientist with outstanding potential that has been offered a tenure track faculty appointment in the Department of Biomedical Engineering (primary) and Orthopaedics (secondary). Her areas of research interest are related to the development of novel polymer scaffolds for musculoskeletal regenerative medicine and the use of micro RNA technology to control stem cell function in the repair of complex tissues. Both areas fit well with the goals of the Center for Musculoskeletal Research and the Department of Biomedical Engineering.
Support from this award will foster the development of tissue engineering principles that will be used in translational research projects related to musculoskeletal pathologies such as fracture healing, graft healing, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. Much of the work will utilize adult stem cells.
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