PITTSBURGH (Mar. 16,
2020) … University of Pittsburgh graduate student Madeline Cramer received an
F31 award from the National Institutes of Health for her regenerative medicine
research that may help improve outcomes in cardiac disease. Cramer studies
bioengineering in the Swanson School of Engineering and works in the lab of
Stephen Badylak, professor of surgery at Pitt and deputy director of the
McGowan Institute of Regenerative Medicine.
lab focuses on the use of biologic scaffolds composed of extracellular matrix
(ECM) to facilitate functional tissue and organ reconstruction. Present within
all tissues and organs, ECM provides essential structural support and also
initiates biochemical and biomechanical cues. Cramer’s project will look at
myocardial infarction (MI) and examine how a specific protein embedded within
the ECM may affect the underlying mechanisms behind the scaffold’s therapeutic response.
myocardial infarction, cardiomyocyte death initiates an intense inflammatory
response which is necessary to clear the debris of the dead cells,” explained
Cramer. “However, a prolonged pro-inflammatory state is associated with
immune-driven fibrosis that can progress to heart failure.”
failure is a costly condition that affects millions of adults in the United
States. Tissue engineered biologic scaffolds derived from ECM have been shown
to promote an anti-inflammatory phenotype in macrophages and reduce fibrosis after
MI in pre-clinical and clinical studies, but the underlying mechanisms driving
this response are only partially understood.
work in the Badylak lab showed that ECM is an abundant source of extra-nuclear
interleukin-33 (IL-33), a protein that is stored and protected from degradation
within matrix-bound nanovesicles (MBV),” said Cramer. “My research aims to
delineate the roles of MBV-associated IL-33 in mediating the pro-remodeling
effects of ECM through in vitro and in vivo models of myocardial infarction.”\
that IL-33 containing MBV can dampen the fibrotic response following MI may prove
to be a significant advancement in the treatment of MI and the prevention of
subsequent heart failure.
has worked extremely hard and is very deserving of this award,” said Dr.
Badylak. “I’m confident that the results of her work will have a significant
impact upon the field.”
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Contact: Leah Russell