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Meet Our Pre-doctoral Fellows

Hannah B. Baker, BME Track

Mentors: G. Christ, PhD and A. Mohs, PhD
Appointment: September 2013 - October 2015
Focus: TE/RM Solutions for Functional Reconstruction of VML Injuries

Hannah BakerOverview: 
Hannah was involved in the study of tissue engineering/regenerative medicine solutions for functional reconstruction of volumetric muscle loss (VML) injuries. Her research is funded by a diversity of sources including internal (Innovation Award for development and commercialization of the tissue engineered muscle repair (TEMR) technology), and external DOD funding from the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine (AFIRM). The TEMR technology is funded by AFIRM for a pilot clinical study on 5 patients undergoing secondary revision of cleft. Her project involves development of biomaterial and bioreactor strategies for functional restoration of surgically created VML injuries analogous to the permanent VML injuries suffered by civilians and wounded warriors. She is presently focused on the use of rodent models for finalizing the applicability of the TEMR technology for cleft lip.

Publications:
Benjamin T. Corona, Ph.D., Catherine L. Ward, Ph.D., Hannah B. Baker, Thomas J. Walters, Ph.D., George J. Christ, Ph.D. Implantation of in vitro tissue engineered muscle repair (TEMR) constructs and bladder acellular matrices (BAM) partially restore in vivo skeletal muscle function in a rat model of volumetric muscle loss (VML) injury. Tissue Engineering Part A. December, 2013.

Baker HB, McQuilling, JP, King, NM. Ethical Considerations in Tissue Engineering Research: Case Studies in Translation. Methods (San Diego, Calif.). 2016 April 15;99:135-44. PubMed PMID: 26282436; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4869966.

Baker HB, Passipieri JA, Siriwardane M, Ellenburg MD, Vadhavkar M, Bergman CR, Tomblyn S, Burnett L, Christ, GJ. Cell and Growth Factor Loaded Keratin Hydrogels for Treatment of Volumetric Muscle Loss (VML) in a Mouse Model. Tissue Engineering Part A (23(11), February, 2017

Oral Presentations:
Baker, HB. (October 2013). Keratin hydrogels as a delivery system for the regenerative treatment of volumetric muscle loss. NCTERMS Conference, Winston-Salem, NC. 2013.

Baker, HB, Passipieri, JA, Bergman, C. (February 2014). Skeletal muscle tissue engineering and the RMCC. 2014 WFIRM Annual Retreat, Pinehurst, NC.

Baker, HB. (October 2014). Keratin hydrogels as a cell and growth factor delivery vehicle for treatment of volumetric muscle loss. BMES Conference, San Antonio, TX.

Baker, HB (December 2014). Growth Factor Loaded Keratin Hydrogels for Treatment of a Sheet-like VML Injury in Mice. TERMIS Americas, Washington, D.C.

Collaborations:
Kacey C Marra, PhD, Associate Professor and Director of the Plastic Surgery Research Lab, McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, University of Pittsburgh and David Kaplan, Professor and Chair of Biomedical Engineering and Director of Tufts Bioengineering and Biotechnology Center: Development and implementation of a joint muscle nerve regeneration therapy

Kaplan Lab, Tufts University: further development and implementation of a silk construct for skeletal muscle regeneration

KeraNetics LLC, Winston-Salem, NC: development and implementation of cell and growth factor loaded keratin hydrogels for use in skeletal muscle regeneration

Ongoing Projects:
Preclinical study for a Pre-IND application using Christ Lab developed tissue engineered muscle repair constructs in both male and female rodents for repair of a volumetric muscle loss injury with clinical relevance to cleft lip secondary revision procedures (expected completion by summer, 2015).

Cell and growth factor loaded keratin hydrogels for repair of a volumetric muscle injury in mice in collaboration with KeraNetics LLC (completed summer, 2015).

Career: 
Hannah successfully defended on June 15th, 2015.  Consistent with Hannah’s goal is to stay closely involved with translational science by continuing to pursue research endeavors in musculoskeletal regeneration and by becoming more involved with the associated regulatory processes and policy, she submitted applications to a variety of postdoctoral positions in tissue engineering research labs as well as to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering Scholars Program. On March 17th, 2015 she accepted a Post-Doctoral Fellow position at the University of Maryland where she remains under the advisement of Dr. John P. Fisher in the Bioengineering Department working on tissue engineered therapies for orthopedic tissues. 

 

Matthew Brovold, MCB Track 

Mentor: Shay Soker, PhD
Appointment: October 2015-Present
Focus: Fibrotic Diseases of the Fetal Liver and their Effect on Organogenesis

Matthew BrovoldOverview:
Matthew received his Bachelor’s in Genetics, Molecular and Cellular Biology in 2011 and worked as a Research Technician in 2012 before joining Dr. Shay Soker’s research group in 2013. Matthew Brovold is currently working on an in vitro model of developmental diseases of the liver. The impact of fetal liver fibrosis on the development of the liver is a unique field of study into the rare, but devastating congenital liver disorders. Successful generation of this model may give insight into the effects of abnormal regulation of pathways critical for normal organogenesis that is associated with such diseases. 

Publications:
Kong, W., M. Brovold, B. Koeneman, J. Clark-Curtiss, and R. Curtiss III. Turning self-destructing Salmonella into a universal DNA vaccine delivering platform. Published November 5, 2012, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1217554109 Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. * This article has been recommended by Faculty of 1000.

Vyas, D., Baptista, P. M., Brovold, M., Moran, E., Gaston, B., Booth, C., Samuel, M., Atala, A., & Soker, S. (2017). Self-assembled liver organoids recapitulate hepato-biliary organogenesis in vitro. Accepted in: Hepatology, 2017.

Dhal, A., Brovold, M., Atala, A., & Soker, S., Principles of Organ Bioengineering. In: Kidney Transplantation, Bioengineering and Regeneration. 1st ed., Academic Press, 873-876, 2017.

Oral and Poster Presentations:
Brovold, M. (Presenter), S. Soker. In Vitro Modeling of Fetal Liver Fibrosis, Jan. 2017, WFIRM retreat, Pinehurst, NC.
 
Brovold, M. (Presenter), S. Soker. A Novel In Vitro Model of Development Hepatic Fibrosis, 0ct. 2016 NIBIB, NIH, Bethesda, MD.

G. Llamazares, M. Brovold (Presenter), R. Monge, S. Mokhtari, D. Izquierdo, F. Sotelo, A. Argues, J. Ayuso, A. Vigueras, J Santolaria, I. Garces, G. Alameida-Porada, I. Ochoa, L. Fernendez, S. Soker. Microreactor/Microfluidic devices for non-invasive and real time monitoring of oxygen and transepithelial electrical resistance. 2016 Graduate Student and Postdoc Research Day, Winston-Salem, NC, March 24, 2016 at WF Biotech Place Conference Center

Brovold, M. (Presenter), S. Soker. In Vitro Modeling of Fetal Liver Fibrosis, Dec. 2016, TERMIS-AM, San Diego, CA.
 
Brovold, M. (Presenter), D. Vyas, E. Moran, P. Baptista, S. Soker. The roles of LGR5, WNT, and Notch signaling in human fetal liver stem cell proliferation and differentiation, 2015 WFIRM annual retreat, Pinehurst, NC

Brovold, M. (Presenter), D. Vyas, E. Moran, P. Baptista, S. Soker. The roles of LGR5, WNT, and Notch signaling in human fetal liver stem cell proliferation and differentiation, 2015 Graduate Student and Postdoc Research Day, Winston-Salem, NC

Collaborations:
Dan Ruderman, PhD, Shannon Mumenthaler, PhD, David Agus MD, Keck School of Medicine USC.  This collaboration is based on the use of collagen gel based organoids to model to growth and effect of colorectal cancer within liver tissue ultimately resulting in a computer model of cancer growth.

Scott Friedman, MD, Icahan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY. This collaboration is based on the use of activated hepatic stellate cells to model liver fibrosis and its implications on liver development.

Guillermo Llamazares, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza. This collaboration purpose is toward the development of microfluidic device for the use in culturing human fetal liver stem cells.

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA. The collaboration is based upon utilizing decellularized liver matrix technology as a platform for development and validation of the computer modeling of the effects of the physical environment on the cancer growth and metastasis.

Ongoing Projects:
Development of a gel based system capable of modeling biliary organogenesis and the effects of activated hepatic stellate cells. Expected completion Summer 2018.

Collagen based gel system capable of modeling colorectal cancer growth within a liver like tissue. Expected completion Fall 2018.

Career:
Matthew anticipates defending towards the end of 2018. Upon completion Matthews’s goal is to continue pursuing academic research in the field of developmental liver biology and to become more deeply involved in clinical developments for treatment of fibrosis.

 

Mahesh Devarasetty, BME Track

Appointment: October 2015 – May 2017
Mentors: A. Skardal, PhD and S. Soker, PhD
Focus: Construction of Various Microscale, 3D Organoid Microfluidic Platforms for In Vitro Diagnostics

Mahesh DevarasettyOverview:
Mahesh joined as a third year biomedical engineering student in the VT-WF-SBES program (Track 7). He received his B.S. in biomedical engineering from Columbia University, graduating in 2012. Mahesh’s research deals with the construction and testing of various microscale tissue models. He is an active member of the XCEL body-on-a-chip project, utilizing his engineering experience to develop microfluidic and sensor technologies. His future goals include using microfabricated models, or organs-on-a-chip, for personalized medicine and drug screening. Mahesh’s project revolves around building a model of the colon for use in colorectal cancer modeling. Our model is based around the interaction of the submucosa and the epithelium of the colon, the initiating site of many colorectal cancers. Using this model, we embed a 3D tumor spheroid to observe the effects of varied microenvironment on oncogenesis and cancer progression. In addition, our model can be used to study drug kinetics and efficacy. Using this colonic model, we’ve found a link between mechanical properties (such as stiffness and fiber alignment) and cellular processes (Focal adhesion kinase activation and downstream WNT activity).

Publications:
Konar D, Devarasetty M, Yildiz DV, Atala A1, Murphy SV. Lung-On-A-Chip Technologies for Disease Modeling and Drug Development. Biomed Eng Comput Biol. 2016 Apr 20;7(Suppl 1):17-27. doi: 10.4137/BECB.S34252. eCollection 2016.

Skardal A, Devarasetty M, Kang HW, Seol YJ, Forsythe SD, Shupe T, Soker S, Atala A. Bioprinting Cellularized Constructs Using a Tissue-specific Hydrogel Bioink. J Vis Exp. 2016 Apr 21;(110):e53606. doi: 10.3791/53606.

Skardal A, Murphy S, Devarasetty M, Mead I, Kang H-W, Seol Y-J, Zhang US, Shin S-R, Zhao L, Aleman J, Hall A, Shupe TD, Kleensang A, Dokmeci MR, Lee SJ, Jackson JD, Yo JJ, Hartung T, Khademhosseini A, Soker S, Bishop CE and Atala A. Multi-tissue interactions in an integrated three-tissue organ-on-a-chip platform. Scientific Reports, 2017 7(1): p. 8837.

Devarasetty M, Forsythe S, Shupe TD, Soker S, Bishop CE, Atala A, Skardal A. Optical Tracking and Digital Quantification of Beating Behavior in Bioengineered Human Cardiac Organoids. Biosensors (Basel) 7(3). 2017 June 23.

Devarasetty M, Wang E, Soker S, Skardal A. Mesenchymal stem cells support growth and organization of host-liver colorectal-tumor organoids and possibly resistance to chemotherapy. Biofabrication. 2017 Jun 7;9(2):021002. doi: 10.1088/1758-5090/aa7484.

Devarasetty M, Forsythe S, Shupe TD, Soker S, Bishop CE, Atala A and Skardal A. Optical Tracking and Digital Quantification of Beating Behavior in Bioengineered Human Organoids. Biosensors (Basel), 2017. 7(3).

Skardal A, Devarasetty M, Forsythe S, Atala A, Soker S. A reductionist metastasis-on-a-chip platform for in vitro tumor progression modeling and drug screening. Biotechnol Bioengineering. 2016 Sep;113(9):2020-32. doi: 10.1002/bit.25950. Epub 2016 Mar 8.

Other Products and Resource Sharing:
Protocols: Protocol for production of hydrogel-based multi-tissue system - To quickly generate consistent hydrogel constructs with sufficient nutrients, we developed a PDMS molding technique. This system allows use of any hydrogel, is biocompatible, and can be adapted to a variety of culture-ware.

Research Material: Submucosal model – For use in experiments with cancer spheroids, we developed a model of the submucosa based around primary smooth muscle cells and collagen I hydrogel. This system self-organizes and supports in vivo like epithelial structures. We have embedded a variety of colorectal cancer spheroids into these constructs for drug testing and phenotypic analysis.

Evaluation Instruments: Optical cardiac beat analysis – We developed a MATLAB based analysis system for optically measuring beating rates of cardiac spheroids. This system is non-invasive, nonterminal, and extremely affordable.

Oral and Poster Presentations:
WFIRM Retreat 2016 – Oral Presentation
Mahesh Devarasetty, Aleksander Skardal, Shay Soker. 3D Submucosal Environment for EMT Study.

WFIRM Retreat 2016 – Poster Presentations
Mahesh Devarasetty, Aleksander Skardal, Shay Soker. A 3D Submucosal Microenvironment for Investigation of Fiber Alignment Induced Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition in Colorectal Cancer Cells.

Mahesh Devarasetty, Sarah Grebennikov, Aleksander Skardal. Development of a functionally responsive endothelial fluidic module for body-on-a-chip integration.

WFU Graduate Research Day 2016 – Poster Presentation
Mahesh Devarasetty, Aleksander Skardal, Shay Soker. Modeling the Effects of ECM Organization on Cancer Cell Transformation.

VT-WFU SBES Symposium 2016 – Poster Presentation
Mahesh Devarasetty, Aleksander Skardal, Shay Soker. Fiber Alignment Induced EMT in Colorectal Cancer Cells.

NIBIB Trainee Meeting – Poster Presentation
Mahesh Devarasetty, Aleksander Skardal, Shay Soker. A Microfabricated Submucosa for Assessing the Effects of Matrix Topography on Colorectal Cancer.

NCTERMS 2016 – Poster Presentations
Mahesh Devarasetty, Aleksander Skardal, Shay Soker. Matrix Topography Drives WNT Pathway Activation in Colorectal Cancer Cells.

Mahesh Devarasetty, Steven Forsythe, Sean Murphy, Thomas Shupe, Sang Jin Lee, John Jackson, James Yoo, Shay Soker, Colin Bishop, Anthony Atala, and Aleksander Skardal. A Bioengineered Multi-Organoid Body-on-a-Chip Platform for Advanced Drug Screening.

Hemamylammal Sivakumar, Mahesh Devarasetty, Aleksander Skardal. An In Vitro Model of Glioblastoma Multiforme.

BMES Annual Meeting 2016 – Poster Presentations
Mahesh Devarasetty, Aleksander Skardal, Shay Soker. Fiber Alignment Induced EMT in Colorectal Cancer Cells.

Hemamylammal Sivakumar, Mahesh Devarasetty, Aleksander Skardal. An In Vitro Model of Glioblastoma Multiforme.

Mahesh Devarasetty, Steven Forsythe, Sean Murphy, Thomas Shupe, Sang Jin Lee, John Jackson, James Yoo, Shay Soker, Colin Bishop, Anthony Atala, and Aleksander Skardal. A Bioengineered Multi-Organoid Body-on-a-Chip Platform for Advanced Drug Screening.

TERMIS-AM 2016 – Poster Presentations
Mahesh Devarasetty, Aleksander Skardal, Shay Soker. A 3D Submucosal Microenvironment for Investigation of Topography Induced Effects in Colorectal Cancer Cells.

Special Awards and Recognition:
TERMIS AM 2017 Student Award

Collaborations:
MIT/Harvard – Khademhosseini Lab – Development of microfluidic devices for a multi-scale body-on-a-chip system for the XCEL program. Collaboration on an image based quantification system for cardiac functionality.

WFIRM – Regenerative Medicine Clinical Translational Center– Collaborative design of a 3D printed bioreactor holder and stand.

WFIRM – Frank Marini Lab – Collaboration on the imaging and quantification of fiber orientation and alignment in cell-organized collagen constructs.

Career:
Mahesh successfully defended and graduated in May 2017. Mahesh confirmed a post-doctoral fellow position with Drs. Shay Soker and Aleks Skardal. Mahesh has also explored non-traditional career opportunities speaking with consultants at: BCG, Deloitte, GLG, and Accenture. In addition to an academic career, Mahesh is concomitantly interest in startup opportunities that fit his expertise.

 

Amritha Kidiyoor, MCB Track 

Mentors: A. Atala, MD and S. Murphy
Appointment: September 2015-Present 
Focus: Using Reprogramming Technology to Convert Damaged Fibrotic Lung Tissue into Functional Lung Tissue as a Potential Treatment for Pulmonary Fibrosis

Amritha Kidiyoor WebOverview:
Amritha Kidiyoor joined as a 3rd year Molecular Medicine and Translation Science graduate student at the Wake Forest School of Medicine. Amritha received her Bachelor’s in Biotechnology Engineering in 2008 and her M.S in Biology in 2012. Amritha’s research project focuses on using reprogramming technology to convert damaged fibrotic lung tissue into functional lung tissue as a potential treatment for pulmonaryfibrosis. She is currently investigating the reprogramming capacity of specific genes in different combinations on lung cells.

Publications:
Murphy SV, Hale A, Reid T, Olson J, Kidiyoor A, Tan J, Zhou Z, Jackson J, Atala A. Use of trimetasphere metallofullerene MRI contrast agent for the non-invasive longitudinal tracking of stem cells in the lung. Methods. 2016 Apr 15;99:99-111. doi: 10.1016/j.ymeth.2015.11.004. Epub 2015 Nov 10.

LI W, Kidiyoor A, Hu Y, Guo C, Liu M, Yao X, Zhang Y, Peng B, Zheng J. Evaluation of transforming growth factor-β1 suppress Pokemon/epithelial-mesenchymal transition expression in human bladder cancer cells. Tumour Biol. 2015 Feb;36(2):1155-62. doi: 10.1007/s13277-014-2625-2. Epub 2014 Oct 22.

Kidiyoor A., Murphy S.V., Atala A. Stem Cells from the Amniotic fluid and Placenta in Cell and Molecular Biology and Imaging of Stem Cells, 2014

Kidiyoor A., Murphy S.V., Atala A. ‘Adult Lung Stem Cells’ in Gene and Cell Therapy, 2014

Murphy S.V., Kidiyoor A., Reid T., Atala A., Wallace E.M., Lim R. Isolation, cryopreservation and culture of human amnion epithelial cells for clinical applications in JOVE, 2014

Amritha Kidiyoor, Jorge Schettini*, Dahlia M. Besmer*, Stephen Rego, Sritama Nath, Jennifer M. Curry, Lopamudra Das Roy, Didier Dreau and Pinku Mukherjee Pancreatic Cancer Cells Isolated from Muc1-Null Tumors Favor the Generation of a Mature Less Suppressive MDSC Population. Frontiers Immunology, 2014
*Both authors contributed equally

Oral and Poster Presentations:
WFIRM Retreat February 2017. Amritha Kidiyoor, Sean Murphy and Anthony Atala. Characterizing embryonic stem cell derived multipotent lung stem cells.

American Thoracic Society Conference May 2016. Amritha Kidiyoor, Sean Murphy and Anthony Atala. Characterizing embryonic stem cell derived multipotent lung stem cells.

WFIRM Retreat February 2016. Amritha Kidiyoor, Sean Murphy and Anthony Atala. Characterizing embryonic stem cell derived multipotent lung stem cells.

Gordon Conference on Lung Development, Injury & Repair, 2015. Amritha Kidiyoor, Sean Murphy and Anthony Atala. Characterizing embryonic stem cell derived multipotent lung stem cells.

NC TERMS October 2015. Amritha Kidiyoor, Sean Murphy and Anthony Atala. Characterizing embryonic stem cell derived multipotent lung stem cells.

Annual Pulmonary Horizons COPD conference as invited Keynote speaker, Miami FL, July 2015. Amritha Kidiyoor, Sean Murphy and Anthony Atala. Regenerative Medicine Technologies for the treatment of lung disease.

Additional Collaborations:
UNC Chapel Hill, Cystic Fibrosis and Pulmonary Diseases Research and Treatment Center: Growth and characterization of lung epithelial cells.

TherimuneX Pharmaceuticals: Determination of their novel drug in our pulmonary fibrosis mouse model

Career:
Amritha will defend in October 2017 and graduate December 2017. She is primarily interested in an academic career; however, is also exploring non-traditional opportunities in industry and government.

 

Renata Magalhaes, MD, IPP Track 

Mentors: K. Williams, DVM and A. Atala, MD
Appointment: November 2016-Present
Focus: Bioengineering Uterine Tissue in a Rabbit Model

Renata MagahaesOverview:
Renata Magalhaes joined the NIH T32-sponsored program as a 3rd year Integrative Physiology and Pharmacology graduate student at the Wake Forest School of Medicine. Renata received her medical degree from the Pontificia Universidade Catolica de Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2002 and successfully completed her residency in Obstetrics, Gynecology, and fellowship in Minimally Invasive Surgery in 2006 at the Faculdade de Medicina do ABC, Brazil. In 2012 she joined Dr Atala’s research team and has been involved in translational projects pertaining the female reproductive system.  Renata’s research project focuses on using tissue-engineering technologies to develop functional lab grown uterine tissue as a potential treatment for women with uterine factor infertility. She is currently working on bioengineering autologous uterine tissue in a rabbit model. 

Publications:
Zambon JP, Magalhaes RS, Ko I, Ross CL, Orlando G, Peloso A, Atala A, Yoo JJ. Kidney regeneration: where we are and future perspectives. World J Nephrol. 2014; 3(3): 24-30.

Zambon JP, Magalhaes RS, Almeida FG. Stress urinary incontinence in women and cell therapy: what can we expect from the future. World J Clin Urol. 2014; 3(3): 304-09. 

Zambon JP, de Sa Barretto LS, Nakamura AN, Duailibi S, Leite K, Magalhaes RS, Orlando G, Ross CL, Peloso A, Almeida FG. Histological changes induced by Polyglycolic-Acid (PGA) scaffolds seeded with autologous adipose or muscle-derived stem cells when implanted on rabbit bladder. Organogenesis. 2014; 10(2): 278-288.

Oral Presentations:
WFIRM Annual Retreat Pinehurst, NC, February 2016.
Renata S. Magalhaes, James K. Williams, Ashley S. Dean, Shannon Lankford, Tammy J. Cockerham, Kimberly Poppante, James Yoo, and Anthony Atala. Successful Conception and Live Birth from a Tissue Engineered Uterus in a Rabbit Model- Preliminary Results.

Three-Minute Thesis Presentation, Wake Forest University Graduate Student Research Day, March 2017.

Poster Presentations:
WFIRM Annual Retreat Pinehurst, NC, February 2016
Renata S. Magalhaes, James K. Williams, Ashley S. Dean, Shannon Lankford, Tammy J. Cockerham, Kimberly Poppante, James Yoo, and Anthony Atala. Successful Conception and Live Birth from a Tissue Engineered Uterus in a Rabbit Model. Preliminary Results.

WFU Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Research Day, Winston-Salem, NC, March 2016
Renata S. Magalhaes, James K. Williams, Ashley S. Dean, Shannon Lankford, Tammy J. Cockerham, Kimberly Poppante, James Yoo, and Anthony Atala. Successful Conception and Live Birth from a Tissue Engineered Uterus in a Rabbit Model.Preliminary Results.

WFSOM Division of Surgical Sciences Research Day, Winston-Salem, NC, November 2016
Renata S. Magalhaes, James K. Williams, Ashley S. Dean, Shannon Lankford, Tammy J. Cockerham, Kimberly Poppante, James Yoo, and Anthony Atala. Successful Conception and Live Birth from a Tissue Engineered Uterus in a Rabbit Model Preliminary Results.

Collaborations:
Elizabeth Loboa PhD, Dean and Professor of Bioengineering, College of Engineering, University of Missouri, Professor and Associate Chair: Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University, Professor: Materials Science and Engineering Department at North Carolina State University, Adjunct Professor: Orthopaedics (UNC-Chapel Hill), Physiology (NC State), Biotechnology (NC State), and Fiber & Polymer Science (NC State): Biomechanical analysis of engineered uterine tissue.

Ongoing Projects:
Structural and morphological assessment of in vivo neo-uterine tissue derived from cell seeded versus non-seeded implanted scaffolds at different time points (expected completion by fall, 2017).

In vitro studies of pharmacological and biomechanical responses of the bioengineered uterine tissue (expected completion by fall, 2017).

Reproductive outcomes from a bioengineered uterus (expected completion by summer, 2017).

Other (Teaching, K-12 outreach, special awards/recognition, grants):
First Place Oral Presentation at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine Annual Retreat, Pinehurst, NC (February 2016).

Second Place Overall Poster Award at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine Annual Retreat, Poster Session, Pinehurst, NC (February 2016).

Student Gold Award in Basic Science - Wake Forest School of Medicine Division of Surgical Sciences Research Day (November 2016).

Second Place Overall Poster Award at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine Annual Retreat, Poster Session, Pinehurst, NC (February 2017).

Second Place People’s Choice Award at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine Annual Retreat, Poster Session, Pinehurst, NC (February 2017).

Career:
Renata Magalhaes has successfully defended her thesis proposal and advanced to PhD candidacy on November 11th, 2016. Her goal is to stay closely involved in medical research and translational projects pertaining to the female reproductive system with ultimate interest in academic career.

John P. McQuilling, BME Track 

Mentor: Emmanuel Opara, PhD
Appointment: September 2013 – May 2015 
Focus: Cell Therapy for Treatment of Type 1 Diabetes

JP McQuillingOverview:
John’s research focused on developing novel procedures and devices to further advance encapsulated islet cell technology as a treatment for type-1 diabetes. Specifically I have investigated the application of growth factors for improving angiogenesis for implanted islet grafts, applications of particulate oxygen generating substances for preventing hypoxic injury to encapsulated islets, alternative collagenase-free methods for isolating islets, and developed new devices for the encapsulation of cells and islets.

Publications:
Guoguang N, McQuilling JP, Zhou Y, Opara EC, Orlando G, Soker S. In Vitro Proliferation of Porcine Pancreatic Islet Cells for β-Cell Therapy Applications. Journal of Diabetes Research. 2016;2016:5807876. doi:10.1155/2016/5807876.

Peloso A, Urbani L, Cravedi P, Katari R, Maghsoudlou P, Alvarez Fallas, ME, Sordi V, Citro A, Purroy C, Niu G, McQuilling JP, Sittadjody S, Farney A, Iskander SS, Rogers j, Stratta R, Opara E, Orlando G. The Human Pancreas as a Source of Pro-Tolerogenic Extracellular Matrix Scaffold for a New Generation Bio-Artificial Endocrine Pancreas. Annals of surgery. 2016;264(1):169-179. doi:10.1097/SLA.0000000000001364.

Mirmalek-Sani S-H, Orlando G, McQuilling JP, Pareta R, Mack D, Salvatori M, Farney AC, Stratta RJ, Atala A, Opara E, Soker S. Mirmalek-Sani S-H, Orlando G, McQuilling J, et al. Porcine Pancreas Extracellular Matrix as a Platform for Endocrine Pancreas Bioengineering. Biomaterials. 2013;34(22):5488-5495. doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2013.03.054.

McQuilling JP, Sivanandane S, Khanna O, Jiang B, Brey EM, Orlando G, Farney AC, Opara EC. Islet Function within a multilayer microcapsule and efficacy of angiogenic protein delivery in an omentum pouch graft. Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering. (2014) 1(1): 1-13.

Baker HB, McQuilling, JP, King, NM. Ethical Considerations in Tissue Engineering Research: Case Studies in Translation. Methods (San Diego, Calif). 2016;99:135-144. doi:10.1016/j.ymeth.2015.08.010.

Book Chapters:
McQuilling JP, Sivanandane S, Pareta R, Pendergraft S, Clark CJ, Farney AC, Opara EC. Retrieval of microencapsulated islets for post-transplant evaluation. In: Cell Microencapsulation: Methods and Protocols (Methods in Molecular Biology), Opara, EC. Humana Press, 2016, Volume 1479, Chapter 12, pp 157-171.

Oral Presentations:
McQuilling JP, Sittadjody S, Balaji S, Harrison B, Farney AC, Opara EC (September 2013). Particulate Oxygen Generating Substances (POGS) as Oxygen Source during Islet Isolation for improved viability and functionality. 2013 Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Meeting. Seattle, WA.

McQuilling JP, Sittadjody S, Harrison B, Farney AC, Opara EC (May 2014). Applications of Oxygen Generating Materials in a Bioartificial Pancreas. 13th Annual School of Biomedical Engineering and Science Research Symposium. Winston-Salem, NC.

McQuilling JP, Soland M, Almeida-Porada G, Opara EC (February 2014). Cell therapy for the treatment of Type 1 Diabetes. 2014 WFIRM Annual Retreat, Pinehurst, NC.

Poster Presentations:
McQuilling JP, Sivanadane S, Steinman J, Orlando G, Farney AC, Opara EM (Oct 2014). Successful Isolation of Human islets using a Collagenase free Osmotic Shock Method. 2014 Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Meeting. San Antonio, TX.

McQuilling JP, Sittadjody S, Balaji S, Harrison B, Farney AC, Opara EC (Feb 2014).  Particulate Oxygen Generating Substances (POGS) as Oxygen Source for Islet Isolation and Processing. 2014 WFIRM Annual Retreat, Pinehurst, NC.

Ngarande E, McQuilling JP, Opara EC (August 2014). Tissue Culture Techniques to Closely Mimic the Natural Microenvironment of Islet of Langerhans Cells. 2014 Summer Scholars Annual Research Day, Winston Salem, NC. (Graduate Student Mentor to University of Cape Town, S. Africa, summer research exchange student)

Collaborations:
Jonathan Lakey, PhD, Associate Clinical Professor and Director of Research, Clinical Islet Program at the University of California Irvine.  The collaboration is based on using the oxygen generating biomaterials that were developed and applying them to Dr. Lakey’s neo-natal porcine islets following microencapsulation.

Career:
John successfully defended on Friday, April 24th, 2015. He applied to a number of research and development positions including: United Therapeutics in RTP, Cook Medical in Indiana, and a biomaterials postdoctoral position at the Naval Research Laboratory. John accepted a position of “Senior Research Engineer” at NuTech Medical, in Birmingham Alabama.  It is a research and development position which is focused on developing their allograft derived products from human amnion an amniotic fluid, as well as some cell based therapies using their amniotic fluid stem cells. 

Ashley Wagoner, NS Track

Mentor: S. J. Walker, PhD
Appointment: April 2015-June 2016  
Focus: Novel Cost-Effective Approaches to Derivation of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells from Epstein-Barr Virus Immortalized β-Lymphoblastoid Cell Lines

Ashley Wagoner WebOverview:
Ashley Wagoner joined as a 3rd year Neuroscience graduate student under the advisement of Dr. Steve Walker at WFU School of Medicine. Ashley was born and raised in Mooresville, NC and received her BS in Neuroscience from Furman University in 2011. Ashley’s research project focuses on elucidating central, autonomic, and enteric nervous system mechanisms underlying cardiovascular and gastro-intestinal (GI) dysfunction in pediatric populations. Ashley conducted two different research projects to study these mechanisms. Her first project aimed to develop a model to study intrinsic synaptic function of the enteric nervous system to investigate neuronal implications of gastrointestinal motility disorders, such as chronic nausea and gastroesophageal reflux disease. This entailed characterizing induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from a patient population with a partial deletion of the synaptic protein Shank3 that is essential for formation of excitatory synapses. Her additional project aimed to further define the phenotype of children with chronic nausea and orthostatic intolerance (OI), a type of dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system (dysautonomia). Using head upright tilt table testing, Ashley was able to characterize neurohumoral and autonomic profiles in this patient population, which provides validation of non-invasive testing for diagnosis and direct evidence for optimal treatment approaches in children with OI and GI symptoms. Ashley also evaluated potential brain mechanisms involved in OI using fMRI and magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

Publications:
Wagoner AL, Shaltout HA, Fortunato JE, Diz DI. Distinct Neurohumoral Biomarker Profiles in Children with Hemodynamically-Define Orthostatic Intolerance. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 310: H416 – H425, 2016.

Wagoner AL, Shaltout HA, Diz DI, Fortunato JE. Orthostatically-Induced Nausea and Altered Neurohumoral Responses in Children with Chronic Nausea. American Journal of Gastroenterology (under review)

Wagoner AL, Fortunato JE, Diz DI, Shaltout HA. 1H-Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Reveals Elevation of MyoInositol and other Markers of Inflammation in the Dorsal Medulla of Children with Orthostatic Intolerance. (in preparation)

Poster Presentations:
Wagoner AL, Mack DL, McKee EE, Walker SJ. A Novel Cost-Effective Approach to Derivation of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells from Epstein-Barr Virus Immortalized β-Lymphoblastoid Cell Lines.
Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine Retreat, Pinehurst, NC, February 2016.

Wagoner AL, Mack DL, McKee EE, Walker SJ. A Novel Cost-Effective Approach to Derivation of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells from Epstein-Barr Virus Immortalized β-Lymphoblastoid Cell Lines.
NCTERMS Conference and Innovation Summit, Winston-Salem, NC, October 2015.

Wagoner AL, Mack DL, McKee EE, Walker SJ. Modeling Enteric Nervous System Function in children with Phelan McDermid Syndrome. NCTERMS Conference and Innovation Summit, Winston-Salem, NC, October 2015.

Wagoner AL, Mack DL, McKee EE, Walker SJ. A Novel Cost-Effective Approach to Derivation of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells from Epstein-Barr Virus Immortalized β-Lymphoblastoid Cell Lines.
International Meeting for Autism Research, Salt Lake City, UT, May 2015.

Wagoner AL, Mack DL, McKee EE, Walker SJ. Modeling Enteric Nervous System Function in children with Phelan McDermid Syndrome. International Meeting for Autism Research, Salt Lake City, UT, May 2015.

Awards & Recognition:
Student Silver Award in Clinical Science - Wake Forest School of Medicine Division of Surgical Sciences Research Day (November 2015)
Travel Award Recipient - Wake Forest University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences Alumni Student Travel Award to travel to American Heart Association Council for Hypertension (Fall 2014 & 2015)
Travel Award Recipient to attend the International Meeting of Autism Research, Salt Lake City, Utah (May 2015)
Poster Award in Clinical Sciences, International Society for Hypertension New Investigator Symposium, San Francisco, CA (September 2014)
Second Place Overall Poster Award at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine Annual Retreat, Poster Session, Pinehurst, NC (February 2015)

Community Outreach:
• Teaching Assistant for Neuroscience Graduate Course in Neuroanatomy (Fall 2014 & 2015)
• Student Representative member of Admissions Committee for Program in Neuroscience at Wake Forest University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (2012-2015)
• Editor of The Neurotransmitter, newsletter for Western NC Chapter of SfN (2012-16)
• Editor and contributor - 9 newsletters from 2012-2016
• Summer Research Mentor - WFIRM Summer Scholars Program (2014 and 2015)
• Volunteer of Brain Awareness Council at WFU (2011-present)
• Participated in Grad 709 Outreach Course (2012-2013) for graduate-level course credit

Additional Collaborations:
ThermoFisher Scientific: characterization and validation of the commercially available Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Taqman Scorecard Assay.

David Mack, PhD, Assistant Professor at University of Washington Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine: further development of disease-in-a-dish nervous system model of Phelan-McDermid Syndrome

On going projects:
hPSC Scorecard Assay Characterization- We are currently validating 6 iPSC lines in pluripotent and directed differentiation states in collaboration with ThermoFisher Scientific and Dr. David Mack.

Magnetic resonance spectroscopy and fMRI studies in children with orthostatic intolerance - complete data analysis and manuscript preparation.

Career:
Ashley successfully defended in April, 2016. She applied to a number of clinical research and postdoctoral positions. Following her clinical research and translational experience, Ashley accepted a Clinical Research Trainee Fellowship Position at Quintiles, the world’s largest provider of biopharmaceutical development and commercial outsourcing services in Research Triangle Park, NC. This position provides regulatory affairs and clinical monitoring experience focusing on therapeutic areas including cardiology, neurology, medical devices, and cancer. Using her clinical operations experience, she obtained a role in strategic planning of clinical trials and drug development.
 



 

 

 

 

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