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Panel 4: Discussion

Tissue Engineering and Extracellular Influences

October 31, 2012
07 minutes
Adam Engler, David Schaffer, Darryl D'Lima, Alessandra Sacco, Karen Christman


Adam Engler is an assistant professor in the Department of Bioengineering at UC San Diego as well as a resident scientist at the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine. His research interests include how extracellular matrix properties regulate stem cell differentiation, typically into skeletal and cardiac muscle, and aging. He is a recipient of an NIH Innovator Award and a Young Investigator Award from the Human Frontiers Science Program. Dr. Engler holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in engineering and was a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University in the Department of Molecular Biology.

David Schaffer joined UC Berkeley in 1999 and is currently professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, bioengineering, and neuroscience at UC Berkeley. He also serves as the director of the Berkeley Stem Cell Center. He applies engineering principles to enhance stem cell and gene therapy approaches for neuroregeneration, work that includes developing new technologies to enable mechanistic investigation of stem cell control. Dr. Schaffer has received numerous awards, including an NSF CAREER Award, Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, Whitaker Foundation Young Investigator Award, Biomedical Engineering Society Rita Shaffer Young Investigator Award, and the American Chemical Society BIOT Division Young Investigator Award in 2006. He was named a Technology Review Top 100 Innovator, and in 2010, he was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering. Dr. Schaffer graduated from Stanford University with a B.Sc. in chemical engineering in 1993 and in 1998 he received a Ph.D. from MIT, also in chemical engineering. Finally, he did a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Fred Gage at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

Darryl D'Lima currently serves as director of orthopedic research at Scripps Clinic. His major research interests include biomechanics of the hip and knee joints, and cartilage injury and repair. He has received academic funding from the NIH, CIRM, OREF, Knee Society, and the Aircast Foundation. Dr. D’Lima has received numerous awards including two Knee Society awards and the HAP Paul award from the International Society of Technology in Arthroplasty for research involving the development of the “smart” knee prosthesis. In 2005 he was awarded the Kappa Delta award from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons for his work on chondrocyte apoptosis following cartilage injury. He serves as reviewer for the NIH on Musculoskeletal Tissue Engineering study sections, chair of the Arthroplasty Topic for the Orthopedic Research Society, and is a member of the board of directors for the International Society of Technology in Arthroplasty. Dr. D’Lima trained as an orthopedic surgeon in India, and as a fellow in Adult Reconstruction under Clifford W. Colwell Jr., MD at Scripps Clinic. He holds an M.Sc. and Ph.D. in bioengineering at UC San Diego.

Alessandra Sacco joined the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in 2010. Her laboratory is interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms regulating muscle stem cell dynamics during tissue development and repair, and to identify potential therapeutic targets to be utilized for regenerative medicine for muscle wasting diseases. Her research is supported by the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Ellison Medical Foundation in Aging, and the NIH. Dr. Sacco earned her Ph.D. in molecular biology at La Sapienza University in Rome, Italy in 1997. She trained as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Prof. Helen Blau at Stanford University, where she defined strategies to isolate adult skeletal muscle stem cells and provided the first definitive evidence that adult muscle stem cells are able to self-renew in vivo.

Karen Christman is currently assistant professor in the Department of Bioengineering and a member of the Institute of Engineering and Medicine at UC San Diego. Her lab focuses on developing novel biomaterials for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine applications and has a strong translational focus with the main goal of developing novel minimally invasive therapies for cardiovascular disease. She has received numerous awards including the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation Early Career Translational Research Award, the American Heart Association Western States Innovative Sciences Award, and the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Society’s Young Investigator Award. Dr. Christman received her B.Sc. in biomedical engineering from Northwestern University in 2000 and her Ph.D. from the UC San Francisco and Berkeley Joint Bioengineering Graduate Group in 2003 under the direction of Dr. Randall J. Lee at UC San Francisco, where she examined in situ approaches to myocardial tissue engineering.