BME Seminar Series (Zoom): Regulation of Stem Cell Phenotype on Both Sides of the Cell Membrane

Zoom (link below)
Rhima Coleman, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering
University of Michigan

Zoom: Password: 198Sem

Abstract: While tissue engineering with adult mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) offer exciting alternative therapies for repairing traumatic cartilage injury, many challenges remain with respect to engineering a functional replacement, due, in part, to our incomplete understanding of microenvironmental influences on stem cell fate and chondrocyte maturation. I will present a pre-chondrogenic stem cell niche developed in my lab in which we systematically investigate the combinatorial effects of multiple exogenous cues on early chondrogenesis and long-term phenotype in a high-throughput format. To regulate cell phenotype from the inside of the cell, we have designed a gene circuit that silences the activity of transcription factors known to drive chondrocyte maturation toward the bone formation pathway. In these ways, we aim to improve chondrogenesis and phenotypic stability of adult MSCs and ultimately their success in generating functional cartilage tissue.

Bio: Rhima Coleman received her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Rochester. She then received a master’s in mechanical engineering and a doctorate in bioengineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research focus was tissue engineering of cartilage to prevent growth discrepancies in children. Coleman then moved to Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City to investigate the impact of cartilage ECM composition on mineral formation for her postdoctoral work. Finally, she joined the faculty of biomedical engineering at the University of Michigan in 2012 to form the Cartilage Healing and Regeneration Laboratory, where she is investigating adult stem cell-based cartilage regeneration in complex multitissue environments, using a precision medicine approach that ranges from reprogramming intracellular signaling up to modeling whole joint mechanics to understand and modify these systems at their respective length scales.