April 4, 2016

ORS 2016 Annual Meeting Round-Up

A guest post by RoosterBio Travel Award winner, Katherine Hudson
Rocking some RoosterBio swag!
The Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS) Annual Meeting brings together clinicians, scientists, and engineers dedicated to addressing the current challenges facing orthopaedic research. With over 2,200 abstracts being presented, it can be a difficult landscape to navigate. Luckily, the organizers make it easy to connect with researchers with similar interests while still facilitating expanded horizons.

My research focuses on tissue engineering of the intervertebral disc (IVD), using mechanical and chemical cues to encourage Mesenchymal Stem Cell (MSC) differentiation and tissue maturation within my constructs. This subject spans the topics of stem cell biology, biomaterial development, and in vivo preclinical trials, making the ORS a perfect place to present my work. Attending the ORS meeting allowed me to accomplish many things including sharing my most recent work, networking with potential employers and collaborators, and learning about the latest scientific developments and techniques.

During the conference, my posters received plenty of traffic, which extended the impact of my findings. Both posters challenge traditional tissue engineering paradigms, and my aim was to make other tissue engineers aware of the potential benefits of culturing (and expanding) MSCs in hypoxia, and immunophenotyping cells before and after their use in 3D scaffolds (See my ORS abstracts here and here for details). Additionally, I was able to get valuable feedback on my research that will make my upcoming dissertation stronger.

The ORS encourages and facilitates networking with both clinicians and other scientists. While at the conference, I met with researchers from across the country, and even interviewed for postdoctoral positions, the next step after I finish my PhD work this May. Through these discussions and the presentation sessions organized by the ORS, I was exposed to the latest research in my current and proposed fields of study. This included the newest cell culture techniques, evaluation tools, and IVD biology.

Although I am biased towards tissue engineering and development, I feel that these topics were the highlight of the ORS meeting this year. The source of cells used in regenerative therapies, be they primary or stem cells, was a focus throughout the conference. Additionally, novel biomaterials and stimulation techniques to drive the behavior of cells was a focus. It is important that researchers understand the structure of orthopaedic tissues and their failure modes over multiple scales before we can truly develop successful repair and regeneration strategies. Appropriate cells types and materials facilitate these studies.

Some presentations that stood out to me:

Hyperspectral Raman Imaging as a Novel Tool for Quantifying the Distribution of Biochemical Constituents in Native and Engineered Cartilage
  •  Dr. Michael Albro, Stevens Lab, Imperial College London
  • Hyperspectral Raman imaging can be used to determine the distribution of extracellular matrix components (including collagen and glycosaminoglycans) by separating the raw spectra into its constituents using multivariate curve resolution analysis. This technique may be used to determine structure function relationships in native and engineered tissues.
  • A related publication can be found here.
Expansion of Mesenchymal Stem Cells on Nanofibrous Scaffolds Preserves Their ‘Naïve’ Mechanobiologic State
  •  Dr. Su-Jin Heo, Mauck Lab, University of Pennsylvania
  •  Bovine MSCs cultured on tissue culture plastic, which as a super-physiologic stiffness, respond to their mechanical environment by moving towards a fibrotic phenotype. This behavior persists even after the cells are moved to a different culture substrate, indicating that the cells have ‘mechanical memory’. These effects were not seen when MSCs were cultured on PCL nanofibrous scaffolds, indicating that these cells may be retaining their naïve phenotype, including multipotency.
  • A related publication can be found here.
Hypoxia promotes stable chondrocyte differentiation of articular cartilage progenitor cells
  •  Devon Anderson, Johnstone Lab, Oregon Health and Science University
  •  Low oxygen tension (2% oxygen) significantly increased the expression of genes associated with chondrogenesis including COL2A1, SOX9, and ACAN, while down regulating expression of COL10A1 and MMP13 compared to ‘normal’ oxygen tension (20% oxygen) in pellet culture. Significant variation in response was seen between donors.
  • A related publication can be found here.
A Secretomic Comparison of the Induction of Chondrogenesis in Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells via TGF-β1 and Mechanical Load
  • Oliver Gardner, Stoddart Lab, AO Research Institute Davos
  •  Human MSCs that have been stimulated to undergo chondrogenesis through mechanical loading or exposure to TGF-β1 secrete different proteins associated chondrogenesis. Specifically, leptin, leptin receptor, and MDC were higher in TGF-β1. Molecules produced after mechanical loading point to nitric oxide (NO) as a mediator of chondrogenesis in this case.
  • A related publication can be found here.

Overall, the ORS Annual Meeting was a great venue to present my work and learn from the many other dedicated researchers in my and related fields. I am grateful to RoosterBio Inc. not only for the cells I use to complete my research, but also the travel award in support of my attending this conference.  


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  5. I remember speaking with Katie at the meeting -- it was exciting to meet another researcher working with RoosterBio cells!


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