University of Pennsylvania science researchers Jason Burdick and Robert Mauk recently published a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that sheds light on mesenchymal stem cells, a sort of adult stem cell located in bone marrow that is able to turn into fat, bone or cartilage cells.
“The broad picture,” Burdick said, “is trying to develop new therapies to replace cartilage tissue, starting with focal defects — things like sports injuries — and then hopefully moving toward surface replacement for cartilage degradation that comes with aging. Here, we’re trying to figure out the right environment for adult stem cells to produce the best cartilage.”
By initiating chondrogenesis, in other words, encouraging the mesenchymal stem cells to differentiate into chondrocytes, the process generates a system of collagen and sugars that cushions joints. According to the University of Pennsylvania news page, one challenge the researchers face is that the cells have to be in close proximity to get the process started.
“In typical hydrogels used in cartilage tissue engineering, we’re spacing cells apart, so they’re losing that initial signal and interaction," Burdick said. "That’s when we started thinking about cadherins, which are molecules that these cells use to interact with each other, particularly at the point they first become chondrocytes.”
“All together,” Burdick said, “these experiments provide a thorough demonstration that this cadherin signal can improve the chondrogenesis response when presented from a synthetic hydrogel.”
UPenn researchers Jason Burdick and Robert Mauck
Image courtesy of the University of Pennsylvania
A great deal of innovative research such is being conducted by University of Pennsylvania science researchers every year due to the school’s wealth of research funding. Lab suppliers hoping to increase scientific product sales and market their life science solutions at Philadelphia life science marketing events may be interested to know that in 2012, the NSF provided the University of Pennsylvania with $32 million of research funding. Of that money, $2 million went towards life science projects alone. Some of the life science disciplines receiving funding included physiology and structural systems, molecular biophysics, genetic mechanisms, and systems and synthetic biology.
In addition to receiving $32 million in NSF funding, the University of Pennsylvania also received $457.5 million from the NIH in 2012. The NIH ranked the University of Pennsylvania third in direct plus indirect costs of life science expenditures, excluding R&D contracts and ARRA awards, in 2011. For a full list of departments receiving NIH funding at the University of Pennsylvania, please visit the NIH website.
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Last year, the Philadelphia BioResearch Product Faire™ Event attracted 465 visitors, of which 140 were purchasing agents, professors and post docs, and 72 were lab managers. The attendees came from 56 different research buildings and 65 departments across campus. For more funding information on the University of Pennsylvania or to learn more about the Philadelphia BioResearch Product Faire™ Event, click on the button below. If you are interested in marketing your life science solutions and increasing scientific product sales at life science marketing events closer to home, we encourage you to view our 2013 calendar of events.