Dr. Leigh Griffiths
VetMB, RCVS Diplomate of Small Animal Surgery (Soft Tissue), Diplomate ACVIM (Cardiology), MRCVS, PhD, Assistant Professor
Dr. Griffiths graduated from Cambridge University in 1995, spent a year in small animal practice and then completed a residency in small animal soft tissue surgery at Glasgow University Veterinary School. In 2000 he earned the Royal College of Veterinary Surgery diploma of small animal soft tissue surgery. In 1999 he accepted a position as a lecturer in small animal surgery at University of Liverpool Veterinary School. Dr. Griffiths is the first veterinary surgeon in the United Kingdom to train as a microvascular surgeon at the world-renowned Canneisburn Hospital. He completed a fellowship in cardiac surgery at Colorado State University in 2003 followed by a PhD and residency in Cardiology. In 2007 he joined the faculty at the University of California – Davis, where he runs the cardiovascular surgery program. He provides services for cardiac angiography and non-invasive tests such as echocardiography and electrocardiography. He is also interested in interventional cardiology, including pacemaker implementation, balloon valvuloplasty and patent ductus arteriosus occlusion. Dr. Griffiths offers surgical options unavailable elsewhere: open heart surgery, procedures to correct congenital defects and selected cardiac tumor surgeries. Dr. Griffiths’ basic science research program involves looking for ways to identify and ultimately avoid, the barriers to transplantation of animal derived tissue scaffolds for use in production of tissue engineered tissues (valve, vascular and cardiac patch replacement) and organs (heart transplantation) for implantation in animal and human patients.
C.W Jenny Chang
Educational – Chia-Wei “Jenny” Chang was born in Kaohsiung, Taiwan on September 24th, 1982. Jenny finished elementary and middle school education in Taiwan. In 1998, Jenny moved to Belize City, Belize, where she attended Pallotti High School and graduated as the salutatorian in May, 2002. Jenny enrolled at University of Wisconsin – Madison for her undergraduate study, majoring in genetics. Jenny participated in research opportunity with Dr. James L. Kecks to study the oligomerization of RecQ helicase in E. coli and received a Hilldale Undergraduate/Faculty research fellowship in 2004. In the summer of 2005, Jenny was a summer undergraduate research fellow (SURF) at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, and worked on lipid trafficking in Dr. Richard Pagano’s lab. Jenny graduated with her bachelor in science with honors from University of Wisconsin – Madison in May, 2006. In August of 2006, Jenny enrolled as a Ph.D student at Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, IL. In the spring of 2008, Jenny joined Cell and Molecular Physiology program and the lab of Dr. Donald M Bers to study the hypertrophic signaling in adult cardiac myocytes. Later that year, the lab relocated to University of California – Davis, where Jenny has been working on her dissertation research. In June, 2009, Jenny was awarded a two-year predoctoral fellowship from the American Heart Association (Midwest Affiliate). Jenny also completed a business development certificate from Graduate School of Management at University of California – Davis in 2011. Jenny graduated with her Ph.D degree in August, 2012 and is pursuing a post-doctoral fellow position in laboratory of Dr. Leigh Griffiths in January, 2013.
Research biography – My dissertation research focuses on the receptor-mediated hypertrophic signaling pathway in adult ventricular myocytes. In particular, my project examines the activation and translocation of protein kinase D and histone deacetylase 5 using GFP-tagged adenovirus in cultured myocytes isolated from normal rabbits and heart failure rabbits. I am experienced with confocal fluorescence microscopy, fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) imaging, primary cell culturing, molecular biology, western blotting, co-immunoprecipitation and immunostaining. I am looking to learn in vivo animal experiences, stem cell biology and other techniques as a post-doctoral trainee to pursue my interest in translational research related to human cardiac disease and development.
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EDUCATION/WORK: Maelene began her undergraduate education at UC Berkeley in 2000. Anxious to contribute to the advancements and progress in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, Maelene joined the Cell and Tissue Bioengineering Laboratory in 2002 as an undergraduate researcher. After graduating in 2004 with a B.S. in Bioengineering, Maelene's enthusiasm for cardiovascular tissue engineering led her to a research associate position in the Cardiac Stem Cell Translational Laboratory at UCSF. In 2007, Maelene entered the PhD program in Biomedical Engineering at UC Davis and anticipates completing her degree in early 2013 with a Designated Emphasis in Translational Research.
RESEARCH: Maelene's work centers on the generation of a functional scaffold for heart valve tissue engineering. To render xenogeneic scaffolds derived from xenogeneic tissues immunologically-acceptable, Maelene has developed a novel method to achieve antigen removal using a stepwise approach. Using this stepwise antigen removal strategy, Maelene has demonstrated that the global residual antigenicity of bovine pericardium is significantly reduced and the detection of the two most critical barriers to xenotransplantation (alpha-gal and MHC I) are eliminated compared to current decellularization protocols while biomaterial structure-function properties and recellularization potential are maintained.
Future work includes the continuation of biomaterial characterization via fatigue testing and in a large animal model. Studies toward the directed differentiation of stem cells on these xenogeneic scaffolds will also be undertaken. Application of our novel solubilization-based antigen removal method will be expanded to other tissues and organs of the body with the ultimate goal of translating this technology into engineered tissues and organs for patients.
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Angeliki (Angela) Papalamprou
I studied Molecular Biology and Genetics in my home country, Greece, and then I moved to Liverpool to pursue a Master’s in Sports Physiology, driven by my passion for anything sports-related. While in Liverpool I was fortunate to meet Dr. Georgina Ellison, who was setting up her new lab there. Under her supervision, I picked a very exciting project, investigating the hypothesized activation of endogenous Cardiac Stem Cells following an intensity-controlled exercise regime leading to physiologic cardiac hypertrophy. Upon completion of my Master’s thesis I stayed for another three months in this lab to finish up my data collection (this study was published in October 2012 in the European Heart Journal). A few months later, I left for the US, where I am currently a Ph.D Candidate in Molecular Cellular and Integrative Physiology in UC Davis. My first year of graduate studies was both exciting and stressful, due to the fact that it proved hard to find a lab that would match my personal research preferences and also would be able to support an international graduate student. After a summer of complete uncertainty, I was lucky once again to meet Dr. Leigh Griffiths whose research seemed incredibly alluring in a field I hardly knew existed. During the two past years that I have been in his lab, I had the rare opportunity to design and set up my project and model system, devise numerous optimizations and validity pilots with his guidance. This has been hard, but also incredibly rewarding, because Dr. Griffiths’ mentorship principles are perfectly fitted to my learning style, giving his graduate students a lot of independence and room to express their ideas and opinions. Although being in another newly set up lab may have required double the effort to implement protocols and models before being able to proceed to the actual data collection and, admittedly, I had to learn many things from my mistakes, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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I am a first year Veterinary Scientist Teaching Program (VSTP) student at UC Davis. I completed my BS in Animal Science at the University of Maryland, College Park in 2012 but my interest in research began in high school when I spent a summer at Southern Illinois University working in a histology lab. In my second summer of undergraduate school I sought out an internship at NIH’s veterinary pathology department in Bethesda Maryland to learn about pathology. I assisted in necropsies and slide readings as well as embedding tissues for the microtome. Since my early childhood I wanted to be a veterinarian, but my summer at NIH showed me that I could combine both veterinary medicine and research. In my junior year I worked in a reproductive physiology lab learning basic science like PCR, RNA extraction, and micro-dropping. Encouraged by my experience, I took a class about Immunology and knew I had found my passion. In the summer of 2011 I received the Summer Scholars Grant from UMD and completed a summer research project in which I investigated the effects of NNK on the activation of naïve T cells. It invigorated me to have a project of my very own, to learn to write my own protocols, to collect my own data and I knew that I wanted to pursue a dual degree in both veterinary medicine and Immunology. During my interview process for the VSTP at UC Davis I met Dr. Griffiths and I knew I wanted to do my research with him. Dr. Griffiths’ expectations for a Ph.D. candidate clicked with mine and I knew that he would be an excellent guiding force in my pursuit of a Ph.D. in Immunology. At the moment I am in my first year of vet school but I will join Dr. Griffith’s lab in the fall of 2014. In the meantime I plan to work in Dr. Griffith’s lab during my summers learning the techniques I will need to complete my Ph.D.
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Before attending university, I worked with both large and small animal veterinarians across the United States and in the south of England. It was my interest in veterinary medicine that prompted me to pursue a Bachelor of Science in biological sciences with an emphasis in neurobiology, physiology, and behavior from the University of California, Davis. During my undergraduate career, I continued working within large animal medicine and in doing so, became more involved in research. I have always been fascinated by the cardiovascular system, so during my senior year I reached out to Dr Griffiths to learn more about his research specifically. It is within this lab I have found the perfect balance of medicine and research and it is where I will complete my graduate research for my Ph.D. program; Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology.
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