Tissue Engineering

The intervertebral disc (IVD) undergoes a degenerative process that results in a loss of proteoglycans, disorganization of the extracellular matrix architecture, tears in the IVD, generation of herniation fragments, and a loss of disc height.  As a result, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine strategies that have the potential to provide pain relief and provide functional restoration are of great interest. These strategies are especially promising due to their potential to simultaneously interact with the mechanical, inflammatory, and nervous system components involved in IVD disorders. We are specifically interested in engineering tissues that are designed to thrive in an inflammatory environment and produce a mechanically functional and restorative tissue.  We are actively pursuing projects that are investigating the molecular mechanisms of functional tissue development and engineering tissues that thrive in inflammatory environments .  We believe this work will lead to novel treatment strategies for numerous patients suffering from back pain.

Students Involved in Project

Graduate Students

Niloofar Farhang

Joshua Stover

Undergraduate Students

Alejandro Blitch