Regenerative Medicine Program Basic Science & Translational Research
Advances in regenerative medicine have the potential to transform many areas of medicine, particularly surgical practices in orthopedics, plastics, and dermatology. Scientists in NYU Langone’s Regenerative Medicine Program are leaders in identifying and developing clinically viable applications for regenerative technologies.
Our research efforts have the ultimate goal of functional limb and organ regeneration, with faculty members currently focusing on avenues such as cellular and molecular mechanisms, translational models, and biomaterials and vasculature and tissue engineering.
Learn more about our faculty researchers below.
Daniel J. Ceradini, MD
Dr. Ceradini’s lab investigates novel methods of modulating stem cells and their functional environment using several preclinical models that are directly translatable to human clinical care. Specifically, his lab is interested in the impact of oxygen tension and oxidative stress on stem cell and progenitor cell function and how the molecular pathways that govern these processes can be exploited to restore tissue regeneration in specific disease states.
Organismal development, growth, and tissue regeneration after injury are critically dependent on the plasticity of vascular networks, local tissue oxygen tension, and response to oxidative stress. In specific disease states such as diabetes or in advanced aging, this plasticity is significantly altered, resulting in a diminished ability to repair damaged tissues.
In tissue engineering and regeneration, the vasculature is the most significant rate-limiting step in generating substantial viable tissue constructs. It also orchestrates the integration between the vasculature and host immune system. Thus, we believe that understanding the mechanisms of stem cell– or progenitor cell–mediated vascular regeneration and the interplay between the vasculature and regenerative environment has a broad impact on human disease and tissue engineering.
As clinical surgeon–scientists, Dr. Ceradini and his team are in a unique position to rapidly translate ideas and innovations from the laboratory into clinical trials that improve care for patients.
Learn more about Dr. Ceradini.
Paulo G. Coelho, DDS, PhD
The Coelho lab is a cross-disciplinary research group that is consistently at the forefront of innovation in the field of regenerative medicine. Located in the Department of Biomaterials at NYU College of Dentistry, the laboratory’s work brings together translational research in materials science, cell biology, and reconstructive surgery to bioengineer tissue regeneration and replacement therapies. Collaborations with complementary research groups, including pharmacology and developmental biology, as well as clinicians, such as maxillofacial, plastic, and orthopedic reconstructive surgeons, have enabled the group to fully focus on clinically relevant problems and applicable solutions.
The laboratory has access to an extensive array of facilities and services. It is home to several custom three-dimensional printers; a suite for computer-aided design, fabrication, and analysis; an advanced tissue culture laboratory and stem cell bank; and a range of nano-, micro-, and macromaterial analysis equipment. These resources enable the group to work on a vast range of projects, including tissue engineering, biomimetic materials, and cell-based therapies.
The Coelho lab has published numerous pioneering studies, the most recent of which is three-dimensional printing of ceramics to provide novel artificial bone scaffolds that can repair critical-sized bone defects arising from trauma, oncologic resection, or congenital conditions.
Learn more about Dr. Coelho.
Philipp Leucht, MD
Musculoskeletal tissue regeneration, and in particular bone regeneration, is dependent on the presence of skeletal stem cells. Dr. Leucht’s research focuses on three main aspects of skeletal stem cell biology. First, he is investigating the effects of aging and inflammation on bone progenitor cells. His research has shown that age-associated inflammation is the main culprit in the loss of stem cells and function in the elderly, and he is currently investigating approaches centered around rejuvenation of the skeletal stem cell niche.
Second, he is investigating how fracture healing progresses through discrete stages and how bone cells within the injury identify and respond to the transition from one stage to the next. In particular, he is investigating how skeletal stem cells transition from proliferation to terminal differentiation.
Last, he is studying the positional memory of adult skeletal stem cells. Whereas human skeletons are not able to regenerate entire limb segments, individual cells in the adult still house the complex machinery that allows for patterning during embryonic development. Dr. Leucht’s goal is to reactivate this machinery and, in so doing, enable regeneration of the mammalian skeletal element.
Learn more about Dr. Leucht.
Catherine Pei-ju Lu, PhD
Dr. Lu’s research focus is on sweat gland stem cells in development, wound repair, and regeneration. Sweat glands play a crucial role in human physiology, in terms of maintaining our body temperature and water balance. Patients with severe burn injuries and devastating skin diseases lose their ability to sweat and therefore suffer from constant fever and potentially life-threatening heat stroke and brain damage.
Using mouse models, Dr. Lu performs immunofluorescent microscopy, fluorescence-activated cell sorting, two-dimensional cell cultures and three-dimensional organoid cultures, and single-cell transcriptome sequencing to study the molecular mechanisms and signaling pathways within sweat gland stem cells and their micro niche during normal skin development and wound repair. She also collaborates with NYU Tandon School of Engineering to employ atomic force microscopy, microfluidic chamber systems, and three-dimensional printing to understand how environmental mechanical forces influence glandular stem cell differentiation and regeneration.
Learn more about Dr. Lu.
Piul S. Rabbani, PhD
Dr. Rabbani’s research focuses on extracellular vesicles secreted by mammalian cells, with three main areas of interest. First, Dr. Rabbani’s lab explores small extracellular vesicle–mediated intercellular communication among the discrete cell types in cutaneous wounds. The lab’s goal is to identify the direction of critical communication events and signals that allow inflammation resolution and progression of wound healing. To this end, they are examining discrepancies between healthy adult skin wounds and chronic wounds, such as those in patients with advanced diabetes, venous disease, and age. Dr. Rabbani’s team uses multiple preclinical chronic wound models and in vivo imaging techniques.
Second, Dr. Rabbani’s lab examines the impact of small extracellular vesicles, isolated from cultured multipotent stromal cells of long bone marrow, on tissue repair in preclinical wound models. In collaboration with biomaterials labs at NYU Tandon School of Engineering, Dr. Rabbani’s lab is developing delivery vehicles for extracellular vesicles. Dr. Rabbani’s lab also works closely with NYU Langone’s Helen L. and Martin S. Kimmel Hyperbaric and Advanced Wound Healing Center.
Third, Dr. Rabbani is investigating the relationship between metabolic status and extracellular vesicle–mediated cell fate decisions in the same bone marrow–derived multipotent stromal cells. This work is based on her prior findings that molecular regulators of metabolism affect maintenance of multipotency and cell phenotype. Dr. Rabbani’s lab has developed in-house molecular and cellular tools for this line of inquiry, with the long term goal of translating their findings into applications for patients suffering from tissue repair impairments in chronic wounds.
Learn more about Dr. Rabbani.
Bhama Ramkhelawon, PhD
Dr. Ramkhelawon’s laboratory explores how imbalances in the behavior of immune cells residing in the vascular wall can determine the fate of vascular tissue in health and disease. In particular, she is interested in identifying signals that overactivate the proteolytic capacity of arterial macrophages, thereby promoting life-threatening aortic rupture in the context of aneurysm disease. She also studies how these signals can coordinate the regrowth of the vasculature required to restore blood distribution after pathological arterial blockage.
Her research is translational and based on ongoing retro- and prospective clinical data from patients suffering from aneurysm disease and peripheral artery disease. In the laboratory, she is developing genetically modifiable tools to target these signals in murine models, with the goal of using the results to treat human patients.
Learn more about Dr. Ramkhelawon.
Mayumi Ito Suzuki, PhD
The goal of Dr. Ito Suzuki’s laboratory is to understand skin stem cells, their regulation, and how they orchestrate skin regeneration. Although skin constantly turns over to make new perfect skin and hair, injury in the normal individual results in imperfect regeneration, or scarring. In addition, diseases like diabetes can block successful healing, resulting in open wounds.
Dr. Ito Suzuki’s lab uses state-of-the-art tools, including elaborate genetic mouse models, single-cell RNA sequencing technology, and in vivo microscopy, to investigate why wounding in normal and disease conditions does not result in proper regeneration. The ultimate goal is to understand how perfect skin regeneration after injury can be achieved in normal and disease states. To this end, the lab scientists developed a wounding model, termed wound-induced hair neogenesis (WIHN), in which near-perfect healing can be achieved. This model is now used by researchers worldwide to investigate how wounding can be manipulated for regeneration rather than scarring.
In addition, Dr. Ito Suzuki has recently discovered that dermal sonic hedgehog activation can partially reverse scarring, making this the first demonstration of single-molecule manipulation to change skin scarring to skin regeneration. The lab extended its studies to encompass ways in which amputated limbs can be regenerated. Using a digit tip amputation model, the lab’s researchers showed that specific signaling molecules are essential for regeneration after amputation. Dr. Ito Suzuki’s lab is now focusing on the cells responsible for limb regeneration and transplant models using these cells to recreate a perfect limb.
Melanocytes also derive from stem cells in the skin. They are essential for protection against irradiation and are the origin of melanoma. Dr. Ito Suzuki’s lab has focused on melanocyte stem cells, their importance to wound healing, and their role as cells of origin in melanoma. The lab’s scientists developed a unique model to follow these cells during normal differentiation or after oncogenesis. The lab is now focusing attention on melanocyte stem cell activation pathways and how they can be hijacked during melanomagenesis to ultimately provide therapeutic tools to subvert this deadly cancer.
Learn more about Dr. Ito Suzuki.
Michael N. Wosczyna, PhD
Dr. Wosczyna’s laboratory investigates the molecular and cellular mechanisms of tissue maintenance and regeneration as well as that of global metabolism. The Wosczyna lab is specifically interested in the role of mesenchymal progenitor and stem cells in these processes, which they model in skeletal muscle and adipose tissue. Dr. Wosczyna has previously demonstrated that mesenchymal stromal cells in skeletal muscle are robust mediators of atypical tissue infiltration and he has begun to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of the associated detrimental fate transitions.
Furthermore, the Wosczyna lab has demonstrated that these same cells are beneficial if maintained in their progenitor state, as they are required for skeletal muscle maintenance and efficient regeneration. The lab has expanded this work to include similar cells and processes in adipose tissue and is particularly interested in the consequence of mesenchymal stromal cell fate on whole-body metabolic flux. By using progressive mouse models of disease coupled with advanced in vivo and molecular assays, Dr. Wosczyna aims to continue to define the impact of progenitor state on tissue health and ultimately harness this knowledge to better maintain and regenerate tissue in pathological and aging scenarios.
Learn more about Dr. Wosczyna.