AR3T supports the development of ex vivo and in vivo technologies that will enhance the understanding of stem cell response to stimulation.
Tissue loading is a powerful means for modulating the tissue microenvironment and promoting healing, a concept that serves as a cornerstone for Regenerative Rehabilitation research. A better understanding of the direct response of stem cells to extrinsic signals within the dynamic microenvironment will ultimately aid in the informed prescription of rehabilitation protocols for patients.
Stem cells interpret both electrical stimulation and mechanical forces in a broad spectrum of ways that can affect their behavior and, ultimately, their ability to drive tissue regeneration. Unfortunately, there are few in vitro or ex vivo methods currently available that allow for modeling and quantification of the direct effect of stimuli on stem cell behavior. There is, therefore, a need to develop ex vivo systems capable of modeling biologically relevant mechanical loads on stem cells in order to understand the mechanistic effects of physical forces on stem cell fate and function. There is also a need to accurately assess the effects of different types of forces experienced in vivo by endogenous stem cells existing within tissues or exogenous stem cell populations transplanted for regenerative therapies. The Regenerative Rehabilitation research community will benefit from the development of technologies that will enhance our understanding of stem cell responses to electrical and/or mechanical stimulation.
Objective: AR3T supports the development of novel technologies that will enable cutting-edge investigations in Regenerative Rehabilitation research. The ideal proposal will lead to a research tool that will propel further Regenerative Rehabilitation investigations.
Examples of Technology Development Projects Funded by AR3T:
Dr. Fabrisia Ambrosio, University of Pittsburgh: Development and validation of a 3-D piezoelectric scaffold used in combination with exercise to promote functional tissue regeneration.
Dr. Todd McDevitt, Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease: Development and testing of an ex vivo system for the mechanical conditioning of stem cell microtissue constructs.
Dr. Thomas Rando, Stanford University: Development of an automated analysis system of mouse gait to assess functional recovery after injury.
Dr. Gunes Uzer, Boise State University: Replicating marrow mechanics of stem cells ex vivo.
Dr. Ngan Huang, Stanford University: Stretchable tissue chips for customizable rehabilitative microenvironments.
Dr. Weian Zhao, University of California, Irvine: Cell-based mechanosensors to illuminate stem cell fate decisions upon mechanical stimulation.
Dr. Lohitash Karumbaiah, University of Georgia: An integrated microfluidics-based approach to model brain damage and recovery responses.
Dr. Thomas Rando, Stanford University and the VA Palo Alto Health Care System: Validation of a system of in vivo noninvasive imaging for assessing muscle stem cell responses to mechanical loading.