Center for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine
The Center for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine (CTERM) is a collaborative research endeavor between LSU Health Shreveport and Louisiana Tech University. It focuses on the development of cell-based and tissue-engineering therapies to combat tissue inflammation, damage, and loss associated with complications of metabolic syndrome or trauma injury. Specifically, the goal of CTERM is to produce clinically relevant stem cells and biomaterial scaffolds to generate useful cell- and tissue-based therapies that can combat the loss of healthy tissue associated with chronic disease.
A multi-disciplinary team of researchers from LSU Health Shreveport and Louisiana Tech have combined their expertise to study chronic health issues that affect the region and parishes across the state, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer. The CTERM offers an ideal environment to train future scientists, engineers and clinicians for careers in stem cell biology, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.
In addition to research, there is a strong emphasis on educating and training the future scientists who will contribute to the biomedical workforce in our state. This mission of the Center directly aligns with LSU Health Shreveport's mission to teach, heal and discover and addresses the health care needs of the area, promotes research, develops new tools, and educates undergraduate, graduate, and medical students in cutting edge, interdisciplinary methods of science, engineering, and translational medicine.
The collaboration between LSU Health Shreveport and LA Tech University in Ruston spans the I-20 corridor and will utilize the expertise of the region to tackle a growing chronic disease epidemic affecting parishes across the state. A combination of basic science, biomedical engineering, and clinical expertise will allow the Center to address health issues from complimentary perspectives and offer an environment that trains future scientists, engineers, and clinicians for careers in stem cell biology, tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine. The two institutions have a long history of successful Collaborations in various areas of health-related research in the form of patents, publications, grants, and a joint MD/PhD academic program. The creation of this Center will serve to solidify this on-going relationship and enhance opportunities in a critical area of basic and translational research.
The expertise, facilities, and resources offered by the two universities expands the possibilities and opportunities for success and impact in this area of research and health care. Specifically, our objectives are:
- To establish an integrated core of clinicians and researchers focused on tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering and regenerative medicine is a growing area of research both in the basic sciences and in translational medicine. The most effective methods of addressing the problems of tissue damage, inflammatory disease, and degenerative conditions lies in a collaborative effort where scientists, engineers, and clinicians work together to find novel approaches to therapeutic needs.
- To promote research and tools in stem cell biology, tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine.
a.) Develop additional research opportunities for students at LSU Health Shreveport and Louisiana Tech University. The collaboration of the universities through the Center will facilitate research opportunities between the campuses for undergraduates, graduate students, medical students, and post-doctoral fellows. In addition, the Center will apply for funding to support Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) in order to provide a more formal summer training and research program to engage undergraduate students in interdisciplinary translational research.
b.) Improve grant-writing skills of faculty. There is a current rise in funding for regenerative medicine and it is critical that the cooperative faculty are competitive for outside funding opportunities.
c.) Encourage and promote multidisciplinary research teams to address areas of biological research, biomedical engineering, and translational medicine to pursue large collaborative research grants.
d.) Foster interdisciplinary partnerships. To foster interdisciplinary partnerships and innovative research, CTERM will offer financial support for new interdisciplinary collaborative research projects. The CTERM seed grant program will award a total of $60,000 ($30,000 from each institution) to fund two projects focused on stem cells, regenerative medicine, tissue engineering, or other topic related to CTERM’s goals and objectives.
- To promote education in stem cells, tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine.
a.) Enhance the training of undergraduates, graduate students, medical students, and postdoctoral fellows. Between the two universities, there is a focused group of undergraduate, graduate students, medical students, and postdoctoral fellows who currently work in areas of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.
b.) Partner with Louisiana Tech’s Visual Integration of Science Through Art (VISTA) Program to more effectively communicate research through visual communication. An important part of the Centers objective requires better communication of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine research to the community. Louisiana Tech University encourages interdisciplinary education and the building of communication skills through programs that include a School of Communications, Technical Writing and Usability, and Visual Integration of Science Through Art (VISTA).
c.) Establish a social media presence to communicate with the public. In order to promote the activities, research, and success of the Center we will engage social media and maintain a strong web presence. This will be critical for connecting the Center with the community, educating the population about stem cells, tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine, recruiting patients for clinical trials, recruiting trainees to participate in research, while helping to raise the profile of medical research taking place in North Louisiana.
d.) Encourage service in the community. Educating the population about tissue engineering and regenerative medicine is a critical mission of the Center. People are generally uncomfortable when they do not understand something and so it is imperative that the Center works with the community to promote the message of the Center and be a resource to patients interested in learning more about stem cells, tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, and the therapeutic potential of these fields. Increasing the overall biomedical knowledge in our community, especially targeting K-12 level students, will in turn strengthen children’s understanding of health-related issues associated with metabolic syndrome.
- To work closely with community partners to address needs of patients suffering from symptoms of metabolic syndrome and/or tissue injury, and effectively communicate research to community. The motivation of the Center to explore novel therapies for patients who suffer from tissue inflammation, damage, and loss associated with complications of metabolic syndrome came from health care providers in the region.