Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Derek Ning Rose Hills

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 for sponsoring my research project over the summer! This experience helped me grow immensely over the summer both as a person and as a researcher. This program allowed me to learn about the process of research and helped solidify my interest in the field of biomaterials. I also learned many valuable skills such as organization, time management, and improvisation. This experience has given me the confidence to pursue graduate school in the future. I could not have done this without you and I'm sincerely grateful for your sponsorship. Thank you!
Profile image of Derek Ning
Major: Bioengineering, Materials Science
Mentor: Kevin Healy
Sponsor: Rose Hill Foundation
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