UC Davis Biomedical Research and Growing Stem Cell Program
The UC Davis Department of Biomedical Engineering was founded in 2001 with three faculty members. It now has a faculty of 27 (with 5 more planned) and ranks impressively in the latest NSF Report on R&D Expenditures by major institutions. According to Dept. Chair Athanasiou, UCD BME ranks:
- 6th in the nation (up from 9th the year before)
- 1st in the UC System
- 1st among all public and private California universities
Among its recent accomplishments, the stem cell research of professor Kent Leach is making headlines. His work with injured animals at Davis' Veterinary School holds promise for treatment that could be valuable to human as well.
A key problem in stem cell treatment is getting the stem cell material to stay where it is placed at the injury site in the patient. The challenge for biomedical scientists is to develop an effective delivery system, also known as a scaffold or matrix that supports the stem cells while not being rejected by the host's immune system.
Leach's approach is novel in that it uses a patient's own stem cells, derived from their existing fatty tissues to regenerate the bone matrix. This is exciting because besides side-stepping ethical concerns related to external sourcing of stem cells from embryos, or donors, using stem cells harvested from the patient's own system drastically decreases the chance of rejection by the patient's body. Using these self-assisted regeneration techniques, Leach's equine and canine patients have seen impressive recoveries from orthopedic and joint injuries.
Also newsworthy at Davis' Biomedical Engineering Department, Professors Tonya Kuhl and Angelique Louie are being honored by the Association for Women in Science for their outstanding mentorship of graduate and undergraduate students.
(Photo courtesy of UC Davis, Surface and Interfacial Science Laboratory)
If you are a biomedical research supplier and would like to meet researchers at UC Davis, plan to visit our Davis BioResearch Product Faire™ Event on the UC Davis Campus June 15, 2011.