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
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