Derek Ning

How do hyaluronic hydrogels stimulate immune response and muscle cell differentiation?

Muscle injuries from accidents, blast trauma, surgical situations, and sports can lead to acute muscle tissue loss and severe permanent damage to the body. Therefore, it is essential to develop methods to enhance the wound healing and regeneration process. This project aims to promote muscle regeneration through stem cell transplantation. However, a major challenge is that immediately after transplantation into damaged tissue, donor cells encounter a harsh environment with substantial death-promoting stimuli. This project aims to provide a hyaluronic acid environment that helps stimulate mechanisms of cell engraftment within the host tissues during muscle regeneration.

Hyaluronic acid is an especially attractive material due to it being a natural component of the cell extracellular matrix and playing a large role in biological processes. This project aims to implant muscle stem cells, along with common immune cells known as macrophages, in order to observe their interplay and how the gel can be further tuned to enhance muscle regeneration.

Message to Sponsor

Thank you so much! I'm extremely honored to have the opportunity to continue pursuing my research and interests with this fellowship. I really appreciate your generosity and contribution in funding my project, and I'm excited to make a lot of progress in my project. Thank you again for giving me this amazing opportunity!
  • Major: Bioengineering, Materials Science
  • Sponsor: Rose Hill Foundation
  • Mentor: Kevin Healy