Last month, Genea Biocells co-sponsored the San Diego Skeletal Muscle Seminar Series featuring local scientists, Drs. Anne Bang and Karen Christman.
Anne Bang, the Director of Cell Biology at the Sanford Burnham Prebys (SBP) Medical Discovery Institute, leads efforts at SBP to develop stem cell-based disease models for drug screening and target identification. In her talk entitled, “Patient-Specific Cell-Based Disease Models of Congenital Muscular Dystrophies for Drug Discovery,” Dr. Bang described her lab’s work in modeling a dystroglycanopathy caused by mutations in the FKRP gene. In collaboration with Dr. Charles Emerson’s lab at UMass, the Bang lab adopted Genea Biocells’ protocol to differentiate human stem cells to skeletal muscle. In this new and exciting work, they screened drugs on patient-derived skeletal muscle and uncovered compounds that rescue the loss of essential muscle proteins lost in dystroglycanopathies.
Karen Christman, a Professor of Bioengineering at UCSD, gave a talk entitled, “Injectable biomaterial approaches for regenerating muscle.” Located at the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, her lab focuses on developing biomaterials for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. In her talk, Dr. Christman highlighted the importance of using tissue-specific extracellular matrix (ECM)-based hydrogels to improve functional outcomes for tissue regeneration. She discussed exciting work in her lab in which hydrogels derived from porcine muscle ECM injected into muscle shifted the inflammatory response, enhanced blood vessel and muscle development, and decreased cell death.