Morton Building Room 4-662
310 E Superior
Chicago IL 60611
Description of Interests
A major goal of our research is to improve upon current clinically-employed methods of bone regeneration by developing and testing novel technologies, many of which are combinatorial in nature. Many of these studies are performed in conjunction with our collaborators in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Drs. Samuel Stupp and Ramille Shah, who have done pioneering work in the fields of regenerative nanotechnology and 3D-printing, respectively. The regenerative technologies under investigation currently include novel materials, such as biodegradable, bioactive peptide amphiphile-based nanogels and 3D-printed hyperelastic "bone"-based scaffolds. Our ultimate goal is to bring to market a bone graft substitute that is both safer and more effective than currently-available products.
The other major direction of our research is in the bone toxicology arena, where we aim to elucidate the molecular mechanisms by which pervasive environmental toxicants--such as those present in cigarette smoke--inhibit osteoblastic differentiation and bone healing. We have a particular interest in ligand activators of the Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor (Ahr), such as dioxin (TCDD), which is a potent carcinogen. We have found that dioxin inhibits bone regeneration and spine fusion in a rat pre-clinical model. Therefore, current work is focused on the identification of downstream targets of dioxin action in osteoblast progenitor cells, as well as the evaluation of the capacity for Ahr antagonists to protect against dioxin-induced pseudarthrosis. The long-term goal of this work is to identify a viable therapeutic approach to combat the inhibitory effects of smoking on bone healing.
Biologic Therapies; Environmental Health; Molecular Biology; Nanotechnology; Orthopedics; Signal Transduction; Toxicology; Transdisciplinary Research
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