BME Lecture Series: Blanka Sharma, University of Florida
Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering
University of Florida
Abstract: Biomaterials have the potential to improve therapeutic options for a wide range of clinical problems. Our lab works on developing three-dimensional scaffolds and targeted drug-delivery systems for applications in both regenerative medicine and cancer. The first part of this talk will focus on cartilage repair and osteoarthritis (OA), and will describe how our experience in clinical studies of biomaterial-guided cartilage repair has shaped our current projects, in a “bench-to-bedside-to-bench” transition. The second part of this talk will focus on our work in cancer, and will describe the development of tissue-engineered tumors to study natural killer cell-cancer cell interactions central to immune evasion in cancer, in order to guide the development of cancer immunotherapies.
Bio: Sharma is an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Florida. Her research focuses on the development of biomaterials and targeted drug therapies that modulate the functions of stem and immune cells in situ for applications ranging from tissue repair to cancer therapy. She received her undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from the University of Waterloo (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada), her Ph.D. from the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University and her postdoctoral training at the Cleveland Clinic. Sharma served as director of research for Cartilix Inc. a startup company based on her doctoral research from 2005 to 2009, working towards clinical translation of a hydrogel technology for cartilage repair in the knee.