McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine Holds Its Annual Scientific Retreat

The focus was on peer-to-peer networking, with many opportunities to explore collaborative endeavors with other researchers, participating guests, and external partners who are working to bring regenerative medicine technologies to clinical use.

The McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine held its 2013 Scientific Retreat March 7-10, 2013. The focus was on peer-to-peer networking, and the retreat provided many opportunities to explore collaborative endeavors with other researchers, participating guests, and external partners who are working to bring regenerative medicine technologies to clinical use.

The participation and contributions of the guests and external collaborators - along with McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty and trainees - provided for insightful discussions and identification of opportunities for partnership. This year’s program was chaired by Kacey Marra, PhD, associate professor in the Departments of Plastic Surgery (primary) and Bioengineering (secondary), as well as co-director of the Adipose Stem Cell Center at the University of Pittsburgh.

Program Highlights

The retreat program included special presentations by the following guests:

  • McGowan Distinguished Lecture “Mesenchymal Stem Cells for Treatment of Graft-versus-Host Disease” by Katarina Le Blanc, MD, PhD, Professor of Clinical Stem Cell Research, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden

  • Steven D. Shapiro, MD, Executive Vice President, UPMC, Chief Medical and Scientific Officer, President, Physician Services Division-UPMC who spoke on “Health Care Reform is Here: Daunting Challenges and Great Opportunities”

  • Highlights of emerging clinical therapies introduced by J. Peter Rubin, MD and Jorg Gerlach, MD, PhD.

The Retreat program also included a great cross-section of scientific presentations given by these invited researchers from other institutions and agencies (in alphabetical order):

  • Steven Boyce, PhD, University of Cincinnati, Professor, Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, Adjunct Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering, Senior Investigator, Research Department Shriners Burns Hospital: “Considerations for Automated Fabrication of Tissue-Engineered Skin Substitutes”

  • Carmelo Chisari, PhD, Unit of Neurorehabilitation, Department of Neuroscience, University of Pisa, Italy: “Chronic Muscle Stimulation in Myotonic Dystrophy Type 1: Possible Effect on Pathogenetic Mechanisms”

  • Peter DeComo, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, ALung Technologies: “Keynote on Entrepreneurial and Commercialization Journey”

  • Artur Dubrawski, PhD, Sr Systems Scientist/Adj Professor MISM, Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University: “Machine Learning Approach to Model Physiologic Data Streams”

  • Lisa Fortier, DVM, PhD, Associate Professor of Large Animal Surgery, Cornell University: “Biologics for Regenerative Medicine”

  • Nick Jeffery, BVSc, PhD, Diplomate ECVS, ECVN, SAS, FRCVS, Professor, Neurology & Neurosurgery, Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Iowa State University: “Blinded Randomized Controlled Trial of Olfactory Ensheathing Cells for Clinical Canine Spinal Cord Injury”

  • David H. Kohn, PhD, Professor, Departments of Biologic and Materials Sciences, and Biomedical Engineering, University of Michigan School of Dentistry: “Biomineralization Principles as a Platform for Tissue Regeneration”

  • Bruce Ksander, PhD, Associate Scientist, Schepens Eye Research Institute, and Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School: “A novel gene that identifies limbal stem cells for corneal regeneration”

  • J. Randall Moorman, MD, Professor of Medicine, Biomedical Engineering and Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics, University of Virginia: “Mortality Reduction by Heart Rate Characteristic Monitoring in Very Low Birth Weight Neonates: A randomized trial”

  • Scott L. Nyberg, MD, PhD, Professor of Surgery, Artificial Liver Program Director, Mayo Clinic: “Humanized Spheroid Reservoir Bioartificial Liver”

  • Rachelle Palchesko, PhD, OTERO Fellow-Laboratory of Adam Feinberg, PhD, Carnegie Mellon University: “Bioengineering the Corneal Endothelium”

  • Glenn Prestwich, PhD, Presidential Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Research Professor of Biochemistry, University of Utah: “From Goo to Great”

  • Jessica Quimby, DVM, Department of Clinical Sciences, Colorado State University: “Mesenchymal Stem Cell Clinical Trials for Feline Chronic Kidney Disease”

  • David S. Smith, JD of Counsel, Pepper Hamilton, LLP: “Careers in the Law – More than Patent Prosecution”

  • Mark E. Sobel, MD, PhD, Executive Officer, American Society for Investigative Pathology, International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories, Intersociety Council for Pathology Information: “Career Opportunities in Professional Societies, Journals, and Public Policy Sector”

  • Marjana Tomic-Canic ,RN, PhD, Professor of Dermatology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine: “Approaches to Restore Wound Healing in Chronic Wounds”

  • Elizabeth R. Unger, PhD, MD, Chief, Chronic Viral Disease Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, President, American Society for Investigative Pathology: “Career Opportunities at the Centers for Disease Control”

Elevator Pitch Competition

Again this year, the University of Pittsburgh, Office of Enterprise Development (OED), hosted the "Innovator Elevator Pitch." This event consisted of a series of scheduled brief presentations from participating students on the value of their technology to an audience which included industry participants and venture capitalists. Pictured along with Andrew Remes, PhD, associate director of the OED, are this year's winners:

  • 1st: Katie Farraro: “A Magnesium-Based Ring for Repair of an Injured Anterior Cruciate Ligament”

  • 2nd: Don Taylor and Austin Nuschke: “Cellular Bio-bandage for Traumatic and Chronic Wound Injury”

  • 3rd: Noah Johnson and Robert Allen: “RecoveryOne- Solution for a Broken Heart”

This event was a great opportunity to present the potential value of emerging technologies. The event was judged by the audience. The panel members, who provided feedback to each of the presenters, were:

  • Pratap S. Khanwilkar, PhD, Professor, Bioengineering and Coulter Program Director

  • Arpita Maiti, PhD, Senior Vice President of Research, North America, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Poster Session

The poster session, which had more entries than any other Retreat, was effective in introducing the focus of the Retreat and interests of the faculty and the guests. Andrew Duncan, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Pathology, Division of Experimental Pathology, University of Pittsburgh, and his committee organized the session and judged the posters. The winners of the poster session were:

Medical Devices:

  • Co-First: Anthony Finoli (Jorg Gerlach, PhD, MD, lab, University of Pittsburgh): “Design and Construction of a Human Bone Marrow Bioreactor: Positive-Negative Casting of a Ceramic Bioreactor Core for Culturing Human Liver Tissue”

  • Co-First: Cassandra Weaver (Tracey Cui, PhD, lab, University of Pittsburgh): “Electrically controlled release of anti-inflammatory dexamethasone from conducting polymer/grapheme oxide nanocomposite films”

Computation and Modeling:

  • First: William Kowalski (Kerem Pekkan lab, Carnegie Mellon University): “Computational hemodynamic optimization predicts dominant aortic arch selection is driven by embryonic outflow tract orientation in the chick embryo”

  • Second: Callie Miller (Lance Davidson, PhD, lab, University of Pittsburgh): “Modeling F-Actin and non-muscle Myosin II morphologies”

Cellular therapy:

  • First: Xiong Zhang (Tom Smithgall, PhD, lab, University of Pittsburgh): “The c-Yes tyrosine kinase is a potent suppressor of ES cell differentiation and antagonizes the action of its closest phylogenetic relative, c-Src”

  • Co-Second: Francesca Nicholls (Michel Modo, PhD, lab, University of Pittsburgh): “The potential of CEST for independent in vivo tracking of transplant components”

  • Co-Second: Julie Chandler (Eric Lagasse, PharmD, PhD, lab, University of Pittsburgh): “Two distinct stem cells in the human small and large intestine”

Tissue Engineering:

  • First: Robert Allen (Yadong Wang, PhD, lab, University of Pittsburgh): “Long Term in vivo Study of Rapidly Degradable Synthetic Arterial Graft”

  • Second: Da-Tren Chou (Prashant Kumta, PhD, lab, University of Pittsburgh): “In Vitro Evaluation of Inkjet 3D-Printed (3DP) Fe-Mn Biodegradable Metallic Scaffolds”

Illustration: McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

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McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine 2013 Annual Scientific Retreat Program

Bio: Dr. Kacey Marra

Bio: Dr. Peter Rubin

Bio: Dr. Jorg Gerlach

Bio: Dr. Adam Feinberg

Bio: Dr. Andrew Duncan

Bio: Dr. Tracy Cui

Bio: Dr. Lance Davidson

Bio: Dr. Michel Modo

Bio: Dr. Eric Lagasse

Bio: Dr. Yadong Wang

Bio: Dr. Prashant Kumta