Pitt Med Magazine, Fall 2006, highlights the work of McGowan Institute faculty member Dr. Badylak and his colleagues where they hope to learn how to regrow a mammalian digit. It's a challenge Dr. Badylak, with the other participating scientists from across the United States, has accepted. The group received a $3.7-mNllion, 12-month grant from the Department of Defense's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The researchers hope their efforts will result in a mouse regenerating a functional digit-much in the same manner a salamander or newt regenerates a limb. The grant could be worth up to $15 million throughout four years.
"We sincerely believe that the ability to promote tissue restoration in humans is not only possible, it will in fact be a reality some day. By working as a team and capitalizing on our collective expertise and experience, we're in a better position to succeed at unlocking the regenerative potential of mammals than would be possible working in the silos of our individual labs," said Dr. Badylak. The investigators believe their goal is attainable due to a convergence of recent discoveries made in their labs as well as at other institutions in the areas of stem cell research, extracellular matrix biochemistry, and the regulation of gene expression.
The team consists of:
· Susan Braunhut, Ph.D., professor of biological sciences at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell
· Lorraine Gudas, Ph.D., chairman of the pharmacology department and Revlon Pharmaceutical Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York City
· Ellen Heber-Katz, Ph.D., professor, molecular and cellular oncogenesis program, The Wistar Institute in Philadelphia
· Shannon Odelberg, Ph.D., assistant professor, departments of internal medicine and neurobiology and anatomy, University of Utah, Salt Lake City
· Hans-Georg Simon, Ph.D., a developmental biologist and assistant professor of pediatrics, Children's Memorial Research Center and Northwestern University in Chicago
Pitt Med (Fall 2006)