Date(s) - 01/22/2020
9:15 am - 10:15 am
Cell-Free Approaches for Improved Musculoskeletal Tissue Repair
Musculoskeletal injuries due to disease, traumatic injury, or repetitive activity are major problems worldwide. Current surgical treatments to repair musculoskeletal tissues have a high risk of donor site morbidity, mechanical failure, and re-injury. Given these complications, tissue engineering (TE) has been heavily explored as an alternative strategy to overcome the many disadvantages associated with the conventional repair methods by using a combination of biocompatible materials, cells, and biologic factors to improve the healing response. While there has been an increasing interest on the use of cell-based TE approaches for musculoskeletal tissue repair, my work aims to avoid possible complications associated with autologous and allogenic cell sources and simplify the regulatory pathway towards clinical application by synergistically complementing and improving the native healing environment without the use of implanted cells.
The featured studies focus on the in vitro and in vivo evaluation of two independent three-dimensional systems to enhance (1) bone regeneration and (2) tendon repair. First, the development and characterization of a novel osteoinductive pre-vascularized scaffold composed of electrospun synthetic and collagen-based materials designed to promote early vascularization for significant bone loss will be discussed. This innovative scaffold promoted the ingrowth of bone tissue and vasculature in a mouse model without the addition of growth factors or cells. Next, the biological and mechanical implications of a biocompatible nanofibrous bilayer delivery system (BiLDS) for local and sustained delivery of ibuprofen to mitigate inflammation in a rat rotator cuff injury and repair model will be featured. The BiLDS reduced the in vivo pro-inflammatory response and improved tendon mechanics over time. This collection of work exploits the ability of these cell-free transformative technologies to provide physical and chemical cues for improved musculoskeletal tissue repair.
Brittany is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the McKay Orthopaedic Surgery Research Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn), working under Dr. Louis Soslowsky. As a recipient of the Penn Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowship, her research focuses on the development of a drug release delivery system as a therapeutic for rotator cuff tendinopathy and investigating the role of collagen type V on tendon healing and homeostasis. Brittany received her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Virginia in 2010 and her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Rutgers University in 2016. As a graduate student, she was a NIH T32 Biotechnology Training Fellow and NSF Graduate Stem Fellow in K-12 Education (GK-12). She is an author on numerous peer-reviewed journal and patent review articles, 3 book chapters, and a co-inventor on two patents. Brittany is also a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Postdoctoral Enrichment Program Fellow and the PI of a grant to investigate extracellular vesicles as a therapeutic and diagnostic for diseased and injured musculoskeletal tissues. Brittany has been recognized for her scientific achievements throughout her career and has received awards such as the MIT Rising Star in Biomedical Science Award, Orthopaedic Research Society Tendon Section Trainee Award, Mid-Atlantic PREP/IMSD Research Symposium (MARPS) Distinguished Alumni Award, and the Biomedical Engineering Society Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering (BMES-CMBE) Student Award.
Brittany has a strong passion for teaching and mentoring, which is evident in her participation in and development of regional and national programs aimed to promote STEM careers and education at the middle-school, high school, and undergraduate collegiate level. Additionally, Brittany is the Co-President of the Penn Biomedical Postdoctoral Council and a Mack Technology Fellow through the Penn Wharton School of Business. In her spare time, Brittany enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking, running, playing flag football, and loving on her two 70lb dogs, Apollo and Bella.