Friday, February 1, 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM
Austin Convention Center
Level 4, Meeting Room 16

(There is no fee to attend, but registration is recommended.)

Open Door welcomes you to be part of the discussion and increase your awareness of recent research advances that could someday directly benefit you! Join us for a series of dynamic presentations on the latest innovations in regenerative medicine.

Hosted by the Orthopaedic Research Society, we invite you to imagine a world without musculoskeletal limitations.

Featured Presentations

Human tissues and organs have a limited capacity to regenerate themselves.  In particular, certain adult tissues such as articular cartilage, which lines the ends of bones to allow free joint movement, have virtually no ability to repair or regenerate.  Thus, joint injuries or diseases such as arthritis are the source of significant pain and disability, and few treatments exist for severe arthritis other than replacement of the joint with an artificial prosthesis made of metal and plastic.  Regenerative medicine is an exciting and rapidly growing area of research that seeks to harness the ability of living cells to create replacement tissues or organs that have been damaged by disease or injury.  This multidisciplinary field uses combinations of cells with biologically active materials, genes, and controlled chemical and physical signals to develop tissue replacements as new treatments for complex and often chronic diseases.  Here we will present some of the principles of regenerative medicine and show examples of recent breakthroughs that will hopefully lead to new therapies for arthritis and other musculoskeletal diseases.

Farshid Guilak, PhD

Dr. Farshid Guilak is a Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Washington University, Director of Research for the St. Louis Shriners Hospitals for Children, and co-director of the Washington University Center of Regenerative Medicine.  He is the current Past-President of the Orthopaedic Research Society.  His laboratory studies how the joints and skeleton of the body develop under healthy or diseased conditions and uses this information as a basis for reprogramming adult stem cells to build new tissues and organs, particularly as the basis of new treatments for arthritis and other joint diseases.  He has published over 300 scientific articles and has co-edited four books.  He also the Founder and President of Cytex Therapeutics, a startup company focusing on developing new regenerative medicine therapies for musculoskeletal conditions.

Presented by Elizabeth Cosgriff-Hernandez, PhD

The tissues and organs in our body have undergone countless evolutionary improvements through natural selection to achieve a complex level of structure and function. In comparison, modern biomaterials and medical devices have been under development for a relatively short time. Despite continued advances to improve the longevity and efficacy of medical devices, we still fall short in matching the complexity of native tissues. Device failures and complications result from this mismatch in properties and lack of integration into biological processes. Biomimicry takes advantage of nature’s millions of years of evolution as a design base to solve complex human problems.  In this talk, I will discuss how biomedical engineers are learning from nature to design better biomaterials and medical devices. By emulating or being inspired by the structure or principles in nature, biomimetic design offers unique
opportunities to advance human health.

Elizabeth Cosgriff-Hernandez, PhD

Dr. Elizabeth Cosgriff-Hernandez is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at University of Texas at Austin. She received a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering and Ph.D. in Macromolecular Science and Engineering from Case Western Reserve University under the guidance of Professors Anne Hiltner and Jim Anderson. She then completed a UT-TORCH Postdoctoral Fellowship with Professor Tony Mikos at Rice University with a focus in orthopaedic tissue engineering. Dr. Cosgriff-Hernandez joined the faculty of at Texas A&M University as an Assistant Professor in 2007 and the University of Texas at Austin with the L.B. (Preach) Meaders Professorship in Engineering in 2017. Her laboratory specializes in the synthesis of hybrid biomaterials with targeted integrin interactions and scaffold fabrication strategies (e.g. injectable foams, 3D printing emulsion inks, reactive, in-line blending electrospinning). She also serves on the scientific advisory board of ECM Technologies and as a consultant to numerous companies on biostability evaluation of medical devices. Dr. Cosgriff-Hernandez is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research, Part B, Fellow of AIMBE, and chair of the NIH study section on Musculoskeletal Tissue Engineering.

Presented by Warren Grayson, PhD

Each year, birth defects, trauma or surgery leave some 200,000 people in the United States in need of replacement bones in the head or face. Traditionally, the best treatment requires surgeons to remove pieces of bone from elsewhere in the body, cut it into the general shape needed and implant it in the right location. This technique causes additional trauma and results in a poor replacement for the missing facial bone. To address this, our team has looked to 3-D printing. The process is excellent for making precise anatomical structures from plastic embedded with instructional cues to guide bone regeneration. These materials, combined with the patient’s own stem cells, are being designed to regrow missing facial bones.

Warren Grayson, PhD

Dr. Warren Grayson is an Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Material Sciences & Engineering at Johns Hopkins University and is a founding member of the Translational Tissue Engineering Center. His research interests focus on regenerating musculoskeletal tissues. He has been recognized with awards from the Maryland Science Center, the Orthopaedic Research Society, the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society, and the National Science Foundation. He has authored over 75 original and review articles and book chapters and has several issued and pending patents.

Short Talks

In addition the the featured presentations listed above, there will be several “short talks” presented by young investigators.

Bone fractures caused by traumatic injury or due to skeletal fragility diseases, such as osteogenesis imperfecta, pose significant clinical challenges. Tissue engineering is a promising solution but is often limited by poor recruitment or supply of endogenous progenitor cells. In healthy individuals, bone fractures heal readily by recapitulating the steps of bone development. During fracture repair, mechanical cues are essential to determine the pathway by which bone formation occurs, namely direct or indirect bone formation. The mechanisms by which osteoprogenitor cells are mobilized during bone development and how mechanical cues direct fracture repair are poorly understood. We observed combinatorial roles of the mechanosensitive transcriptional co-activators, Yes-associated protein (YAP) and Transcriptional co-activator with PDZ-motif (TAZ) in promoting both bone development and repair. The ultimate goal of this project is to define the mechanistic roles of YAP/TAZ in osteoprogenitor cell mobilization during bone development and mechanical load-mediated fracture repair. Accomplishing this goal will provide new insights into developmental bone diseases, identify pathways that could be exploited to enhance healing, and position us to design new tissue engineering strategies that recapitulate the processes of bone development and natural repair for regeneration of bone fractures.

Chris Kegelman

Chris received his B.S in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Virginia in 2015. While attending the University of Virginia, he began his research career in the Multiscale Muscle Mechanophysiology (M3) lab studying under the guidance of Dr. Silvia Blemker from 2012 to 2015. Chris then pursued his graduate studies in the lab of Dr. Joel Boerckel at the University of Notre Dame from 2015 to 2017. Chris then followed his advisor and joined the McKay Orthopaedic Research Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania in the summer of 2017 and is now a Ph.D. candidate within the Department of Bioengineering. Outside of the lab, he enjoys traveling, biking and playing water polo.

Rotator cuff injuries are among the most prevalent and devastating musculoskeletal injuries affecting the aging population, with greater than 20% of the population over the age of 50 at risk for a tendon injury. Unfortunately, the initiation of tendon degeneration is still unknown and difficult to determine using traditional cell culture and animal experiments. Explant culture allows researchers to maintain cells in their native three-dimensional environment while also having total control over mechanical and biochemical signals, thus presenting a number of benefits over current strategies. We have developed several explant culture systems, including a rotator cuff organ culture model which contains bone, tendon and muscle in co-culture for the first time. We are currently using these models to investigate mechanisms of inflammation- and loading-induced tendon damage as well as to discover and evaluate therapeutics that may be capable of protecting tissues from cell-mediated damage and promoting appropriate tissue healing.

Brianne K. Connizzo, PhD

Dr. Brianne Connizzo is an NIH-sponsored postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biological Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She previously obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and her B.S. from Smith College. Her research focuses on how extracellular matrix adaptations at the nanoscale influence multi-scale tendon function and how this process changes naturally throughout life, with the ultimate goal of identifying and preventing the initiation of age-related tendon degeneration and injuries. Dr. Connizzo has been an active member of the ORS community for the past six years and currently serves on the ORS Tendon Section Membership Committee.

One of the most common and preventable risk factors for knee osteoarthritis (OA) is obesity, which increases the relative risk of developing OA fourfold. A number of studies have attributed this risk factor to altered joint loading due to elevated body mass; however, recent studies have suggested that a combination of biomechanical and metabolic factors play an important role in the relationship between obesity and OA. Gait analysis studies have provided estimates of loads through the knees of obese individuals, but there remains a lack of data describing the effects of obesity on cartilage composition and the local in vivo strain distributions in the cartilage. In a previous study, we demonstrated the effects of obesity on tissue-level strains in response to dynamic activities of daily living; however, there are limited data quantifying changes in cartilage following a dynamic, acute loading task. Additionally, the relationship between obesity, cartilage deformation, and cartilage composition remains unclear. The objective of this research is to better understand how tibiofemoral cartilage properties are affected by obesity during short term, acute loading of the joint. Characterizing the effects of varying BMI and body composition on in vivo cartilage properties is a critical first step in understanding the mechanisms by which obesity alters the mechanical and biochemical properties of cartilage, thus contributing to the initiation and progression of knee OA.

Amber Collins, PhD

Dr. Collins is a Senior Research Associate in the DeFrate Musculoskeletal Bioengineering Lab. Her work focuses on the use of various imaging modalities (MRI-DESS and T1rho) to specifically quantify cartilage properties. During her NIH postdoctoral fellowship Dr. Collins investigated changes in cartilage strain and glycosaminoglycan content in those with a high BMI as a means of better understanding the role of obesity in cartilage degradation. Recently, she has questioned the role of the meniscus in these relationships. In her future work, Dr. Collins hopes to incorporate gait biomechanics as a way of bridging the gap between activities of daily living to in vivo biomechanical and biochemical properties of cartilage in various injury models

Low back pain is a leading cause of disability, affecting 80% of the population. Intervertebral disc herniation, or a “slipped disc”, is often associated with low back pain since disc tissue can protrude through injuries and compress nearby nerves to causes pain and disability. Injury also disrupts mechanical functions of the spine and can result in increased spinal motion, or instability. While treatments exist to relieve acute low back pain caused by intervertebral disc herniation, there are no regenerative strategies to restore tissue structure and function in the long term. Our work developed a novel model of intervertebral disc regeneration and identifies important cells responsible for healing mechanisms that are present at a young age but are lacking in adults. This research may inform innovative cell therapies that can be applied with minimally invasive techniques to improve intervertebral disc repair and reduce the incidence of low back pain.

Olivia Torre, M.Eng.

Olivia is a 5th year Ph.D. candidate at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, advised by James C. Iatridis, Ph.D. and Alice H. Huang, Ph.D. Olivia graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, completed her M.Eng. from Cornell University in Biomedical Engineering, and is passionate about studying ways to prevent and treat diseases of aging that affect the musculoskeletal system.

About the ORS

For over 60 years, the Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS) has been the leading research society supporting engineers, orthopaedic surgeons, biologists, and clinicians in pursuit of a world without musculoskeletal limitations.

The ORS continues to bring together the best researchers and surgeons in the world and gives them a community to share new research findings, discuss new ideas and to collaborate in new and innovative ways. The ORS offers programs that teach, mentor and encourage our members while inspiring them to move the field of orthopaedic research forward.

Learn more about how you can advocate for increased funding for musculoskeletal research.