(June 2, 2011)--The UTSA Office of the Vice President for Research and Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) announce an award of $200,000 in FY 2013 Connect program funding to UTSA Peter T. Flawn Professor of Biomedical Engineering Rena Bizios and SwRI Senior Research Scientists Vicky Poenitzsch and Xingguo Cheng for their collaborative research proposal, "Novel Scaffolds for Tendon-Ligament Regeneration and Tissue Engineering Applications."
The funding will support the researchers in designing, fabricating and establishing the efficacy of new scaffolds for tendon-ligament repair and regeneration.
Tendon-ligament injuries are one of the most common orthopedic injuries in people of all age groups, creating a great clinical need, demand and market for tendon-ligament repair technologies. Overall, patients suffer approximately 32 million repetitive and traumatic tendon-ligament injuries each year, an incidence that will increase due to the aging population in the United States.
Beyond a large civilian market, tendon-ligament injuries also are common to military personnel because of demanding exercise, heavy-duty work and battlefield injuries. However, the biological and synthetic tendon-ligament replacements that are available currently have a host of limitations.
Over the next year, UTSA and SwRI researchers will fabricate unique collagen-carbon nanotube (CNT) composite macrostructures with tunable biochemical and biomechanical properties. The researchers will evaluate their efficacy for biomedical applications (such as tendon-ligament repair) by establishing their cytocompatibility in vitro using cultured adult mesenchymal stem cell (MSCs) models and researching functions of the cells pertinent to new tissue formation.
"Connect funding supports collaborative research at UTSA and Southwest Research Institute that has the potential to make a significant and long-lasting impact in health, energy, security or another significant industry," said Robert Gracy, UTSA vice president for research. "Tendon and ligament injuries are very serious concerns that affect millions of people every year. We are eager to see the impact of this seed funding as the researchers move forward with their investigations."
"As our population ages, we are increasingly interested in translational research that can accelerate the movement of new discoveries in basic medical research into medical practice," said SwRI Executive Vice President Walter D. Downing. "Through the Connect program, we are exploring approaches to bridge the gap between basic research and applied research."
About Southwest Research Institute
Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) is an independent, nonprofit applied research and development organization. The staff of more than 3,000 specializes in the creation and transfer of technology in engineering and the physical sciences. The institute occupies more than 1,200 acres in San Antonio, Texas, and provides more than 2 million square feet of laboratories, test facilities, workshops and offices. SwRI's total revenue for fiscal year 2010 was $548 million.
UTSA prides itself on giving students a well-rounded education. Combining a top-tier academic program with opportunities for personal growth prepares students to compete in a global economy. And that's not all. They learn to be informed and engaged citizens as well. At the heart of that academic program is an award-winning core curriculum.
For four consecutive years, UTSA has received an A-rating from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni for the caliber of its core curriculum. According to ACTA, UTSA requires its students to take six of the seven courses deemed "crucial" to a well-rounded education: composition, literature, U.S. government or history, economics, mathematics and science. Only a handful of other institutions in the U.S. are giving students these tools, which are needed to succeed in careers and the community.
Did you know? UTSA is one of only three Texas institutions and 23 in the United States to receive the highest rating for its core curriculum in the 2014-2015 edition of the ACTA's "What Will They Learn?" report.
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