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We focus on developing innovative strategies to regenerate and rehabilitate functional

muscle tissue following traumatic injuries, specifically volumetric muscle loss (VML).

The regenerative approach we are pursuing involves using multifunctional biomaterials

that enhance muscle regeneration and function. These biomaterials are composed of

extracellular matrix proteins that are chemically cross-linked and processed in the form

of biosponges, hydrogels, or micro- or nano-particles for various applications.

Not only do these biomaterials provide mechanical support, but they also deliver growth

factors, pharmaceuticals, stem cells, and exosomes to targeted areas, suppress immune

responses, and act as a substrate for host cell infiltration and proliferation.


We're utilizing mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and their secretome

(e.g., growth factors and extracellular vesicles) to foster a conducive micro-

environment for muscle growth. This strategy involves supporting angiogenesis,

reducing fibrosis, and enhancing immunomodulation at the injury site.

Our approaches for delivering MSCs have included single-cell administration,

utilizing biomaterial-encapsulated cells, and deploying them in spheroidal form.

Current projects use both mouse bone marrow-derived MSCs and human

placenta-derived MSCs.

Our rehabilitative strategy involves neuromuscular electrical stimulation-

mediated strength training to improve muscle mass, size, and torque.

Ongoing research investigates the synergistic effect of combining

regenerative and rehabilitative strategies to optimize their efficacy.


We are proficient in employing small animal models, particularly mice and rats,

to explore muscle repair and the intricate relationship between muscle and bone.

Our predominant research model involves inducing full-thickness VML injuries

in the tibialis anterior muscle of Lewis rats. We use

these models to determine the efficacy of our regenerative and rehabilitative

approaches through extensive histological and biomolecular analyses. These

models are instrumental in offering preclinical insights and a comprehensive

mechanistic understanding of tissue remodeling after injury.

Ongoing efforts are also focused on modulating T-cell activity in the VML-injured

muscle and identifying specific helper T cell subsets (e.g., Th1, Th2, Treg, Th17) that

promote or inhibit satellite cell proliferation/differentiation in vitro or muscle

regeneration in vivo

Funding Sources (Internal):

  • Institute for Translational Neuroscience (ITN - Saint Louis University)

  • Institute for Drug and Biotherapeutic Innovation Seed Grant (Saint Louis University)

  • Applied Health Sciences Research Grant (Saint Louis University)

  • President's Research Fund (Saint Louis University)

  • Beaumont Faculty Development Fund (Saint Louis University)

  • KEEN Program Transformation Grant (SLU/KEEN)

  • Research Innovation Fund, Start-up Formation Grant, SLU


Funding Sources (External):

  • National Institute of Health (NIGMS) 1R15GM129731

  • Department of Defense (PRORP) OR170286

  • National Science Foundation (I-corps)

  • Center for Defense Medicine at Biogenerator (STL)

  • Joint NC NM4R and AR3T Neuromodulation and Regenerative Rehabilitation Funding Program

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