Crystal Zhao Awarded the Undergraduate Research Award from CEAA

Crystal Zhao was awarded the Undergraduate Research Award from the Cornell Engineering Alumni Association (CEAA) for the best individual research project. Congrats, Crystal!

Benjamin Cohen Publishes a Paper in the Annals of Plastic Surgery

Benjamin Cohen publishes a paper in the Annals of Plastic Surgery. The paper is entitled, Tissue Engineering Auricular Cartilage Using Late Passage Human Auricular Chondrocytes.

Auricular (ear) reconstruction is a challenging clinical procedure, and tissue engineering offers a superior technique to accurately and effectively replace a damaged or deformed auricle. A clinical biopsy of healthy ear cartilage can provide ~10 million auricular chondrocytes, however a full-sized pediatric ear requires at least 200 million cells to generate. Repeated passaging of chondrocytes to expand their number has been shown to limit the ability of the cells to produce new cartilage, however limited research exists regarding this process with auricular-specific chondrocytes. This paper examines the capacity for extensively expanded auricular chondrocytes to produce native-like auricular cartilage following implantation to determine the limit of potential chondrocyte expansion. We found that cells expanded as far as fifth passage were capable of generating robust auricular cartilage while also significantly increasing in number. This work indicates that a clinically relevant donor amount of cartilage has the potential to populate a full-sized ear construct, bringing us closer to the translation of tissue engineering as a method of auricular reconstruction.

Prof. Bonassar Interviewed by CNN

Prof. Bonassar was interviewed by CNN for his reaction to a recently published study about a clinical application of tissue engineered cartilage.  The story describes work in which researchers from China implanted tissue-engineered ears onto children with microtia, a congenital defect in which the external ear is malformed at birth.  The Bonassar lab has pioneered new techniques for manufacturing of engineered cartilage using techniques such as 3D printing and injection molding.  This new work paves the way for clinical trials of this technology in the near future.

Bonassar Lab Featured in Cornell Chronicle for Collaborative Research with Histogenics, Inc.

The Bonassar Lab has recently been featured in the Cornell Chronicle, following collaborative work between the Bonassar Lab and Histogenics, Inc. This article highlights the role the lab played in a $87 million deal made by Histogenics. Follow this link to read the full article.

Nicole Diamantides wins Cellink 3D Bioprinting Award at TERMIS meeting

Nicole Diamantides, a PhD student in Biomedical Engineering in the Bonassar Lab, won the Cellink 3D Bioprinting Award at the 2017 Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS) meeting in Charlotte, NC. Her paper, “The Effects of Adding Chondrocytes on the Printability of Collagen Bioinks for Cartilage Bioprinting,” investigated the effects of cell content on the rheology on collagen bioinks and how rheological parameters affects the printability of these inks.

This is the first annual 3D Bioprinting Award given a TERMIS.  The awards are based on scientific content, graphical design of the poster, and quality of presentation.  Congratulations to Nicole on her outstanding work and poster presentation!


Stephen Sloan wins Presentation Award at PSRS

Stephen Sloan, a 3rd year PhD student in the Bonassar Lab, won a Trainee Podium award for Outstanding Scientific Research at the 4th International Spine Research Symposium. The presentation, entitled “Cell Delivery in Collagen Gels Enhances Annulus Fibrosus Repair of the Sheep Spine in Vivo,” describes the development of a new therapy for spinal disc herniation. The conference, held from October 23-26, 2017 in Lake Harmony, PA, brought together leaders in the field of spine research to understand degenerative diseases of the spine and to develop new treatments for spine degeneration. Co-authors on the paper were Prof. Bonassar and members of the laboratory of Dr. Roger Härtl, Chief of Spine Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical, Dr. Ibrahim Hussain, a resident in Neurosugery, and clinical research fellows Drs. Christoph Wipplinger, Gernot Lang, and Rodirgo Navarro-Rodriguez.  Congratulations to Stephen and the team for their outstanding work.

Stephen Sloan Receives a TL1 Training Award

Stephen received a TL1 Training Award from Cornell’s Clinical and Translational Science Center for the proposal titled “Repair Strategies for Treating Intervertebral Disc Degeneration.” The goal of the TL1 Training Award is to support career development among pre- and early post-doctoral trainees by providing advanced degree training and practical skills to conduct translational team research across disciplines and institutions. Congrats, Stephen!

Stephen Sloan Publishes an Article in Tissue Engineering, Part B

Stephen published an article entitled Biologic Annulus Fibrosus Repair: A Review of Preclinical In Vivo Investigations in Tissue Engineering, Part B.

Lower back pain, the leading cause of workplace absences and disability, is often attributed to intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration in which nucleus pulposus (NP) herniates through lesions in the annulus fibrosus (AF) and impinges on the spinal cord and surrounding nerves. Surgeons remove extruded NP via discectomy when indicated by local/radicular pain supported by radiographic evidence, however current interventions do not alter the underlying disease or seal the AF. The reported rates of recurrent herniation or pain following discectomy cases range from 5-25%, which has pushed spine research in recent years towards annular repair and closure strategies.  Synthetic implants designed to mechanically seal the AF have been subject to large animal and clinical trials, with limited success in preventing recurrent herniation. Like gold standard interventions, purely mechanical devices fail to promote tissue integration, long term healing, or restore native biomechanical function to the spine. Biological repair strategies utilizing principles of tissue engineering have demonstrated success in overcoming the inadequacies of current interventions and mechanical implants, yet none have reached clinical or proof-of-concept trials in humans. In this review, we will discuss annular repair strategies promoting biological healing that have been implemented in small and large animal models in vivo, and ways to enhance the efficacy of these treatments.

Rebecca Irwin Receives the GAANN Fellowship

Rebecca Irwin was awarded a Gradaute Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) fellowship. Cornell received the GAANN grant from the US department of Education and provides funding for multi-scale biomedical engineering. The focus of the GAANN program is to train US students to conduct research and teaching in biomedical engineering that will satisfy the increased demands for biomedical engineers who can make explicit and quantitative connections between phenomenon occurring at different scales and use that information to improve human health.

Jill Middendorf Publishes a Paper in the Journal of Biomechanics

Tissue engineered cartilage has been implanted into the knees of hundreds of people to fix articular cartilage defects. These implants increase joint function and reduce pain. To understand why these implants improve joint function, many researchers examine the mechanical properties of tissue engineered cartilage. The initial cell seeded scaffold contributes significantly to the mechanics of the implant. As the implant grows the cells produce more matrix which changes the mechanical properties. However, this matrix deposition is heterogeneous and the local mechanical properties do not change uniformly. Therefore, this paper examined changes in the microscale mechanical properties that occur due to increased matrix deposition in human tissue engineered cartilage. Like many engineered cartilage implants, these implants begin as a 3D scaffold prone to buckling at low strains. As matrix is deposited on the scaffold, the implants show resistance to buckling. This study suggests the importance of in vitro culture of constructs prior to implantation to prevent microscale scaffold buckling.