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Bioengineering Seminar Series: Helen Lu
Friday, October 17, 2008
11:00 a.m.
Room 2108, Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Bldg.
For More Information:
Professor Adam Hsieh
(301) 405-7397

Orthopaedic Interface Tissue Engineering and the Formation of Complex Musculoskeletal Tissues

Presented by Helen Lu
Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering
Director, Biomaterials and Interface Tissue Engineering Laboratory
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Columbia University

Musculoskeletal joint motion is facilitated by synchronized interactions between multiple tissue types and the seamless integration of bone with soft tissues such as ligaments, tendons or cartilage. Many of these soft tissues transit into bone through a multi-region fibrocartilaginous interface, which serves to minimize the formation of stress concentrations while enabling load transfer between soft and hard tissues. With its functional significance, re-establishment of the soft tissue-to-bone interface is thus critical for promoting the integration of biological as well as synthetic soft tissue grafts. To address the challenge of biological graft fixation, our approach centers on interface tissue engineering, guided by the working hypothesis that this multi-tissue transition may be regenerated by controlled co-culture of interface-relevant cell populations on a stratified scaffold pre-designed with a biomimetic gradient of structural and functional properties. Focusing on the anterior cruciate ligament-to-bone insertion site, in vitro co-culture models evaluating the role of heterotypic cellular interactions in interface regeneration will be discussed. Moreover, our elucidation of the structure-function relationship at this critical soft tissue-to-bone junction has yielded physiologically relevant scaffold design parameters for interface tissue engineering. Design rationale as well as in vitro and in vivo evaluations of biomimetic scaffolds for interface regeneration will be presented. It is anticipated interface tissue engineering will promote the development of a new generation of integrative soft tissue fixation devices. Moreover, by bridging distinct types of tissue, it will also be instrumental for the ex vivo development and in vivo translation of integrated musculoskeletal tissue systems with biomimetic complexity and functionality.

About the Speaker

Dr. Helen H. Lu received her undergraduate (B.S.E) and graduate degrees (M.S.E., Ph.D.) in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania. After postdoctoral training in Orthopedic Tissue Engineering at Drexel University and later at Tufts University, she joined the faculty at Columbia University in the summer of 2001. Dr. Lu is currently an Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and the Director of the Biomaterials and Interface Tissue Engineering Laboratory at Columbia. She also holds a joint appointment as an Assistant Professor of Dental and Craniofacial Bioengineering at the College of Dental Medicine. Her research focuses on achieving biological fixation of orthopedic soft tissue grafts via interface tissue engineering and controlled cellular interactions. Additionally, Dr. Lu’s group is active in the design and fabrication of polymer-ceramic composite biomaterials for utilization in orthopedic and dental repair. Dr. Lu’s past honors include a National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health, Early Faculty Career Award (Phases I & II) in Translational Research from the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, and she is the inaugural recipient of the international Y’ROBOTS award for Young Researchers in Orthopedic Biomechanics and Sports Medicine. She has recently been honored with the 2008 Society for Biomaterials Young Investigator Award. Her research is supported by the Whitaker Foundation, the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation, the National Football League Charities and the National Institutes of Health.

This Event is For: Graduate • Faculty • Post-Docs

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