Translational Research and Regenerative Medicine

Iannis E Adamopoulos BSc(Hons), M.Phil, D.Phil

Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Clinical Immunology
School of Medicine, University of California at Davis

Osteoimmunology (see also: biochemistry, dermatology, immunology and osteoimmunology)

Our laboratory studies the interface between the skeletal and immune systems, a newly emerging area of research called “osteoimmunology”. Haematopoietic stem cells in the bone marrow give rise to both T cells which are important in inflammation and osteoclasts that regulate bone resorption. Differentiation and activation of osteoclasts from their precursors is tightly regulated by cytokines and growth factors such as receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa beta (RANKL), tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and various interleukins. Receptor engagement of these molecules results in signaling cascades and transcriptional changes that give rise to medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis and osteopetrosis. Using in vivo gene transfer of immune cytokines IL-23 and IL-17, we have established new arthritis animal models that highlight the importance of these immune cytokines in arthritis initiation and bone homeostasis. Using in vitro assays, we continue our attempts to define the cellular and molecular mechanisms that take place in this fascinating interplay of the immune and skeletal systems.

For more information, please contact Dr IE Adamopoulos or visit www.adamopouloslab.com

Marie E. Burns, PhD

College of Biological Sciences (see also: Biochemistry, Immunology, Neurology)

The first steps in vision begin in the rod and cone photoreceptors of the retina, which transduce photons of light into electrical signals. Our lab examines the biochemical and biophysical properties of signaling in photoreceptors, as well as the consequences of defective signaling on visual performance.  We are also trying to understand why and how photoreceptors die, which is the ultimate leading cause of untreatable blindness in humans. Photoreceptor degeneration, like all neurodegenerative diseases, leads to microglial activation and neuroinflammation. We are trying to understand the regulation of neuroinflammation, its relationship to neovascularization, and its helpful vs harmful consequences for perserving neuronal and synaptic function.  To this end, we are also exploring how resident and infiltrating immune cells and glial cells can be used to manipulate the local micro environments within the nervous system to mitigate tissue damage and promote regenerative repair.

Burns Lab website

College of Biological Sciences Faculty Page

Kristin Grimsrud, DVM, PhD

Assistant Clinical Professor, Dept of Pathology, School of Medicine 

Associate Director of Vivaria and Veterinary Care, Mouse Biology Program (MBP)

(See also: Anesthesia/Pain Managment, Genetics/Genomics, Pharmacology/Toxicology)

Dr. Grimsrud is a laboratory animal veterinarian and her research focuses on translational medicine and animal model optimization and development. Her current major research efforts are in collaboration with the Knockout Mouse Project, Metabolic Mouse Phenotyping Center and Mutant Mouse Resource and Research Center. Additionally, she is involved in a variety of microbiota bariatric surgery research projects that utilize mouse models. Lastly, Dr. Grimsrud has a strong interest in translational clinical pharmacology where she investigates variation in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics in special populations (e.g. burn patients, pediatrics) and assess the influences of polymorphisms on drug efficacy.

Research projects that students could be involved with relate to studies to optimize anesthesia and analgesia protocols, optimizing superovulation techniques in rodents and a variety of other projects related to the genetically engineered rodent models and microbiota/gnotobiotic research.

Contact Information:

Email: kngrimsrud@ucdavis.edu

Office Phone: 530-757-3220

Amir Kol, DVM, PhD

VM: Pathology, Microbiology & Immunology

(See also: Biochemistry/Cellular Biology)

My research is in the field of stem cell biology and translational regenerative medicine. Our group is specifically focused on the use of pluripotent stem cells in naturally occurring diseases in companion animals as platforms to conduct high level translational research to facilitate the development of novel regenerative medicine therapeutics for human and veterinary use. Ongoing projects in the lab include the regulatory networks that govern the naive pluripotent state in canine pluripotent stem cells and cellular replacement treatments for canine diabetes mellitus . Our group is always looking for the brightest and most enthusiastic future scientists that are eager to realize the incredible potential and promise of regenerative medicine.

Contact information:  akol@ucdavis.edu

Nancy E. Lane, MD

Professor of Medicine and Rheumatology
Director: UC Davis Center for Musculoskeletal Health
Director: Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health (BIRCWH)

(See also: Epidemiology, Arthritis, Anesthesia/Pain Management)

Dr. Lane is translational scientist in musculoskeletal diseases, specifically osteoporosis and osteoarthritis including laboratory base models for over 20 years.  Her research has included evaluating how agents to treat osteoporosis affect bone quality, performs proof of concept phase 2 on an NIH funded clinical trial to determine how treatment with PTH could stimulate new bone formation in glucocortioid induced osteoporosis and if an antibody to nerve growth factor could reduce pain in osteoarthritis.                                                                                                                                             

Dr. Lane also has performed epidemiologic studies of osteoarthritis of both the knee and hip in men and women. Dr. Lane has received mentoring awards and currently is the director of UC Davis's K12 program on Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health.  Dr. Lane has mentored over 30 trainees in her academic career and has published over 300 articles or chapter.

Currently, Dr. Lane performs preclinical laboratory based studies to determine how bone active agents are used to treat osteoporosis and change bone quality and bone strength; and how a novel hybrid compound, LLP2A-­‐Ale, can direct mesenchymal stem cells to the bone surface and augment bone formation in bone disease states including osteoporosis, osteonecrosis and fracture healing.

Mentees are welcome to work on all aspects of this on‐going research.

Please visit Dr. Lane’s website at http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/publish/facultybio/search/faculty/1106 and  the  website  for  the  Center for  Musculoskeletal  Health  at  http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/musculoskeletalhealth/

Mike Mienaltowski, DVM, Ph.D.

Tendon repair, stem/progenitor cell biology

College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (See also: Orthopaedics/Biomechanical Engineering, Genetics/Genomics and Genetics/Genomics)

My primary research interests include:

(1) the development, maturation, and repair of musculoskeletal connective tissues like tendon and ligament

(2) cellular mechanisms behind broiler muscle pathology

(3) the roles of the microbiome in proper gut transition in foals from birth to weaning.

In my musculoskeletal research projects, I am particularly interested in how differences in niche affect cells within the environment in growth and repair. Moreover, I am interested in the physiology of usage and elite performance as well as pathophysiology from over-usage, acute and chronic injury for all musculoskeletal tissues on all species as they might be related to use, environment, or genetics, and as they might be related to the manipulation of niche and collagen regulation genes. Furthermore, because the proper development of the musculoskeletal system  depends greatly upon proper foal growth and foal growth subsequently depends upon appropriate nutrition, I am interested in understanding how gut microbes facilitate healthy gut transitions in the foal.More information can be found at: http://animalscience.ucdavis.edu/faculty/mienaltowski/index.html

Contact information for Dr. Mienaltowski:  e-mail: mjmienaltowski@ucdavis.edu

David J. Segal, Ph.D.


Genome Center, Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, Pharmacology, and MIND Institute

(See also: Neurology/Neurobiology, Genetics/Genomics, Biochemistry/Cellular Biology)

Research in the Segal Lab revolves around engineering zinc finger, TALE, and CRISPR/Cas nucleases and transcription factors. Almost every disease has a genetic component. Often this information is used only to determine how condemned a person is to develop disease. We would like to use the genetic information to fix the disease. A guiding principle for our work has been to study how nature does what it does, then attempt to use that knowledge to make useful tools to improve public health. We continue to develop new methodologies for genome editing. Our most recent efforts focus on creating epigenomic editing tools that can precisely manipulate epigenetic information at specific loci. Such tools can be used for the long-term control of gene expression for both research and therapeutic applications. Angelman syndrome is a rare neurogenetic disease that is the textbook example of an imprinting disorder. We are using artificial transcription factors to activate the epigenetically silenced gene in in the brains of mice and other animal models. 

Please visit Dr. Segal's website at: http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/biochem/faculty/segal/index.html

Aijun Wang, PhD

UC Davis Medical Center, Department of Surgery (see also: Biochemistry/Cellular Biology, Orthopedics, Surgery)

My name is Aijun Wang. I am an assistant professor at the Department of Surgery, School of Medicine. My research interests center on engineering stem cells and biomaterials to develop novel regenerative medical therapies, especially surgical treatments for congenital anomalies. Since my employment as Co-Director of the Surgical Bioengineering Laboratory and an Assistant Professor at the University of California Davis School of Medicine in 2012, my lab has successfully combined tissue-engineering technologies with the most advanced fetal intervention, and developed novel biomaterial and stem cell-based treatments (including nanofibrous materials, fetal membrane, decelluarized extracellular matrix, iPSC-derived stem cells, placenta-derived stem cells) for devastating structural and genetic birth defects, such as spina bifida, hemophilia and congenital diaphragmatic hernia. Currently, we are extensively using the mouse, rat, guinea pig, rabbit and sheep experimental models to develop novel regenerative therapies. We are also adapting these novel therapies we developed in the lab for the treatment of naturally occurring diseases in companion animals.

Please visit Dr. Wang’s website at http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/surgery/research/wang.html or the  website  for  the  Surgical Bioengineering Laboratory at  http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/surgery/research/index.html

Contact Dr. Wang: aawang@ucdavis.edu.

Joshua Wood, PhD, MBA

Associate Director of Laboratory Operations, Mouse Biology Program (MBP)

(See also: Biochemistry/Cellular Biology, Genetics/Genomics)

My research focuses on optimizing genetic engineering techniques to generate novel animal models. STAR Students in my labs will get an opportunity to work on projects encompassing animal husbandry, genetic engineering and design, pronuclear injection & electroporation, embryo transfer, cryopreservation and recovery, as well as genotyping and sequencing. STAR students will also get an opportunity to learn the business operations and the challenges faced by a large research and production laboratory. In addition to developing new and complex animal models, we are also actively researching previously unmanipulated regions of the genome including enhancers and long noncoding RNAs. As a members of the Knockout Mouse Project, Mutant Mouse Resource and Research Center, Mutant Metabolomic Phenotyping Center, Cancer Center Shared Resource, and Designated Campus Core Facility we offer the opportunity to do fast paced, high throughput research on novel animal models.

Contact Information:

Email: jawood@ucdavis.edu

Office phone: 530-757-3191

Wei Yao, MD

Professor
Associate Director, Center for Musculoskeletal Health
Internal Medicine, University of California at Davis Medical Center

Dr. Yao is a distinguish bone biologist focus on translational research using animal models on bone diseases to evaluate bone active agents on bone metabolisms.  One of Dr. Yao’s research focuses for the past nine years is to investigate bone regenerative approaches using mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs), including bone targeted delivery and activation of MSCs, use of genetic modified MSCs or novel bone specific, osteogenic peptides for bone regenerative medicine.  Dr. Yao’s research group has performed many studies to test this approach in animal models of primary osteoporosis, aging, glucocorticoid-induced bone fragility, fracture healing and in inflammatory arthritis.  Dr. Yao has been using bone seeking agent to delivery MSCs to bone in an IND-enabling study.  Dr. Yao has collaborated with many pharmaceutical companies, including Eli Lilly, Pfizer, P&G, Glaxo and Smith Kline and Amgen et al, in their bone - active drug developments over the past 20 years.

Please visit Dr. Yao's website for more information -

http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/musculoskeletalhealth/bios/yao.html