Gerecht Stem Cell Research Featured in Jewish Times

Sharon Gerecht (left) and students. Credit: JHU

The Baltimore Jewish Times recently featured a Q&A with Israeli native Sharon Gerecht, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and affiliated faculty member of Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology. Gerecht uses nanotopographic surfaces to direct the differentiation of stem cells. An excerpt from the article follows:

What’s the focus of your research?

My focus is stem cells and regenerative medicine. The ultimate goal is developing therapeutics for blood vessel disorders. Blood vessels circulate blood to and from the heart and lungs. Vascular disorders are common, especially as people age, and in chronic diseases such as diabetes.

Have you had success?

We’ve had success in inducing the differentiation of stem cells to blood vessels. Now we are trying to mature these cells to function as a tissue.

In the lab, we use mostly a Petri dish. The body is more three dimensional. Different concerns include transport of oxygen to a tissue, gradients of growth factors, and the specific milieu the cells are grown in.

We have developed several biomaterials that encourage three-dimensional blood vessel growth. Currently, we are studying how stem cells respond to different properties of these biomaterials…

The entire article, written by Barbara Pash, was published in the November 28, 2008 print edition of the Baltimore Jewish Times.

For more information on Sharon Gerecht’s research, visit her INBT affiliated faculty page at http://inbt.jhu.edu/facultyexpertise.php?id=personalresult&usr=220

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