The Growth Factor Mechanobiology Lab is currently recruiting doctoral students in Mechanical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, and Material Science and Engineering. Email Prof. Michael Albro (email@example.com) for more information.
Postdoctoral Research Associate and Laboratory Technician:
The orthopaedic research team run by Prof. Michael Albro (albrolab.com), Prof. Mark Grinstaff (grinstaff.org), and Dr. Brian Snyder (Center for Advanced Orthopaedic Studies) currently has several NIH-funded research position openings on the following two project areas at the postdoctoral research scientist and laboratory research technician levels.
1. Raman Spectroscopic Diagnostics of Osteoarthritis
Project Description: A significant impediment to developing effective osteoarthritis treatments is the lack of high-sensitivity diagnostic platforms capable of monitoring cartilage degeneration and its response to prospective therapies. Raman spectroscopy is an inelastic light scattering technique that provides an optical fingerprint of a tissue’s molecular building blocks (e.g., amides, sulfates, carboxylic acids, hydroxyls), thus allowing recognition of the predominant molecular constituents of the tissue (e.g., glycosaminoglycans, collagen, water). We recently developed a novel Raman arthroscopic needle probe with the capability to: 1) perform an arthroscopic ‘optical biopsy’ of articular cartilage in vivo, and 2) measure spectroscopic tissue biomarkers that are predictive of the composition and functional mechanical properties of the tissue. In the current NIH-funded research project, we aim to advance Raman arthroscopy towards clinical translation by: 1) examining the sensitivity of Raman biomarkers to monitor tissue properties during degeneration and repair via a series of in vivo and ex vivo model systems, and 2) developing a clinically-applicable platform to achieve real-time analysis of patient cartilage health.
Applicant Experience: Individuals with experience/expertise in biomedical spectroscopy, tissue mechanics, and/or biochemistry are strongly encouraged to apply.
2. Bio-inspired Growth Factor Delivery in Tissue Engineering
Project Description: Transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) has served as the most prominent mediator of tissue engineered (TE) cartilage growth. Conventionally, TGF-beta is administered at highly supraphysiologic doses (100-1000x higher than present during native development) in an effort to accelerate neocartilage development to generate a functional load-supporting tissue. However, supraphysiologic TGF-beta growth rates may come at a cost, leading to pathogenic features, such as tissue fibrosis or hyperplasia. In contrast to conventional TE TGF-beta delivery strategies, the natural process of TGF-beta delivery in native cartilage occurs quite differently, where chondrocytes are surrounded by TGF-beta sequestered in an inactive form, termed latent TGF-beta (LTGF-beta). LTGF-beta is activated by cells, leading to need-based activity throughout the tissue, allowing for ECM biosynthesis enhancements while avoiding TGF-beta-associated pathology. This project capitalizes on this native regulatory mechanism by: 1) creating a bio-inspired TE strategy, whereby chondrogenic cells are encapsulated in LTGF-beta-conjugated hydrogel scaffolds to achieve the delivery of near-physiologic TGF-beta doses, and 2) utilizing reaction-diffusion modeling to guide LTGF-beta scaffold design parameters for individual patient cell populations in order to optimize TGF-beta exposure profiles, thus improving clinical TE cartilage quality.
Applicant Experience: Individuals with experience/expertise in cartilage tissue engineering, polymer chemistry, and/or computational modeling are strongly encouraged to apply.
Applicant Requirement: Applicants are not expected to possess prior experience in all areas required for project implementation. For each project, successful applicants will possess experience in some of the applicable disciplines with a strong desire to learn complementary skillsets through training within our highly collaborative research team.
To apply, please send a statement of interest, CV, and the names of three references to Prof. Michael Albro (firstname.lastname@example.org), Prof. Mark Grinstaff (email@example.com), and Dr. Brian Snyder (firstname.lastname@example.org).