Knobbe Martens BME Distinguished Lecturer Series: Alyssa Panitch, UC Davis
Edward Teller Professor
Department Chair of Biomedical Engineering
Abstract: The Panitch laboratory focuses on the use of macromolecules to control inflammation and fibrosis with the goal of improving tissue healing and regeneration. One area of research is the design and development of proteoglycan mimetics. The proteoglycan mimetic technology brings a new way of thinking about drug development. The mimetics are targeted through peptide binding to extracellular molecules. By binding within the extracellular space, they alter the cellular environment, protect the matrix from proteolytic degradation and undesirable cellular interactions to generate a healthier context in which the cells can restore homeostasis or even regenerate tissue. The mimetics are designed with significant clinical input such that the output is a therapeutic that can be used in a manner consistent with current clinical practice. In addition to modulating the cellular environment, the laboratory focuses on the delivery of peptide therapeutics that suppress inflammation and fibrosis through direct inhibition of intercellular signaling cascades. Together, the technologies have broad impact on tissue healing.
Bio: Panitch received bachelor’s degrees from Smith College in biochemistry and from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in chemical engineering. She completed her doctorate in polymer science and engineering from the University of Massachusetts. She currently serves as the Edward Teller Professor and chair of biomedical engineering at the University of California at Davis. Her research interests include the design and delivery of biomacromolecules to improve tissue healing and regeneration for unmet medical needs.