By Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D.
I am so proud to announce that my BME Senior Design Team which includes Dwight Meggie, Julian Rose, Alexandra Stowe, Nathan Eckhardt won the first place certificate for the 2016 Senior Design Project Award. The project entitled “Harnessing Healing: Mechanical Isolation of Adipose Derived Stem Cells for Clinical Applications” sought to evaluate a mechanical method to rapidly harvest adipose tissue and adipose derived stem cells that can be used within a patient to help regenerate the cartilage. Currently, the most prevalent method to isolate adipose derived stem cells is utilizing an enzyme, collagenase, to breakdown the extracellular matrix but this has limited clinical applications. Thus there is a need for a mechanical isolation method. Several isolation methods were tested to isolate stem cells using fresh adipose tissue from rats. This project has the potential to improve human health as it is aimed at regenerating deteriorated cartilage which affects a multitude of patients.
The senior design project is an extremely important part of the BME curriculum at UConn. Through the program, our students work with sponsors or faculty advisors as part of a project aimed at designing and fabricating a new system in order to solve a real world problem. Each year during Senior Design Day, each team is eligible to win prizes based on a judging panel. The winners are announced at the end of the Senior Design Day.
Julian, Dwight, Alexandra, and Nathan, great job!