Welcome to the home page of the Musculoskeletal Bioengineering Laboratory at UC Davis. The Musculoskeletal Bioengineering Laboratory is an interdisciplinary research group, whose objective is to understand the healing processes of cartilage, and augment those processes via sound application of tissue engineering principles. Despite the tremendous advances brought on by biology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, cartilage regeneration remains a serious challenge. The tissues we study –articular cartilage, the knee meniscus, and the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disc– exhibit little to no intrinsic ability to self-repair. In addition, they have very demanding biomechanical functions.
Our engineering approaches entail the use of both biomechanical and bioactive agents/signals. By applying forces to the tissue, construct, and single cell levels, we seek to elucidate the anabolic and catabolic thresholds of chondrocyte mechanotransduction and to develop translational technologies that enhance cartilage regeneration. We are also interested in identifying suitable, alternate cell sources, such as embryonic stem cells (ESCs) , dermis isolated adult stem (DIAS) cells, and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs).
We have recently published a research article in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) entitled “Developing functional musculoskeletal tissues through hypoxia and lysyl oxidase-induced collagen cross-linking,” and a review article in Nature Reviews Rheumatology regarding current and widely used clinical repair techniques for resurfacing articular cartilage defects entitled “Repair and tissue engineering techniques for articular cartilage.”
Our review articular in Science entitled “Unlike Bone, Cartilage Regeneration Remains Elusive” remains highly cited. Science has also issued a podcast interview with Dr. Athanasiou about this publication, which can be accessed by clicking this link.
As you explore our website, we hope that you gain a better understanding of the key issues and challenges in regenerating cartilage, our main areas of research, the diverse approaches we employ, and most importantly, the people that make up the lab.