Accelerated tissue regeneration through direct stem cell re-programming

Nottingham Trent University


Project ID: SST9

This project hypothesises that the genetic reprogramming of human mesenchymal stromal cells will lead to enhanced tissue regeneration through the increased production of growth factors, potentially aiding the development of personalised cell therapies. Furthermore, the performance of existing autologous/allogenic cells can be enhanced through reprogramming of progenitor cells into desired cell types.

This hypothesis will be tested on a previously developed 3D in vitro tissue model of the bone-tendon-muscle interface. These interfaces are widely found in the body, for example in the rotator cuff (RC). Tears of the rotator cuff (RCT) are among the most common causes for shoulder pain, weakness, and loss of motion, which occurs mainly in middle aged to older patients, due to trauma or athletes playing sports with repetitive movements. For more than 40% of patients, common treatments are unsuccessful, thus surgery is required. Incomplete RCT healing can lead to deterioration of the joint, commonly occurring in large tears (>5 cm), which have a ~90% probability of reoccurring. This poses enormous financial burden on the NHS costing around £60 million annually and increasing with failure rates ranging between 25-50% within 12 months.

Reprogramming techniques have shown great potential for regenerative medicine and stem cell therapy applications. Genetic reprogramming of patient-specific progenitor cells into desired cell types to enable tissue regeneration will be tested on a rotator cuff tear model. This medical technology will have the potential for translation to other applications.

Supervisory Team: 

Dr Yvonne Reinwald

Professor John Hunt

Profess Mark Christian

The PhD student would also be supported by Dr Wendy Balestri, a newly appointed Research Fellow in the Department of Engineering.

Entry qualifications

  • 1st class / 2:1 undergraduate degree, and / or equivalent
  • Completed masters level qualification and / or evidence of substantive published research works

Fees and funding

This is an NTU Studentship funded opportunity.

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