Carnegie Mellon's Jeffrey Hollinger To Direct Craniofacial
Reconstruction Program, Team In New Medical Consortium
PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University's Jeffrey O. Hollinger will be the director of the Craniofacial Program, one of five research programs comprising the Rutgers University-led consortium in the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine (AFIRM).
The consortium will be led by Joachim Kohn, the Board of Governors Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology in Rutgers' School of Arts and Science, and co-principle investigator George Muschler, an orthopedic surgeon in the Cleveland Clinic.
A second consortium will be led by the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, with the University of Pittsburgh as a collaborating member.
Each consortium received $42.6 million from a combination of sources that include the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command (USAMRMC), in conjunction with the Office of Naval Research, the National Institutes of Health, the Air Force Office of the Surgeon General and the Department of Veteran Affairs. The consortia will work closely with the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research at the Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas.
Hollinger, a professor of biomedical engineering and biological sciences in the colleges of engineering and sciences, respectively, and the director of Carnegie Mellon's Bone Tissue Engineering Center (BTEC), will receive $2.1 million over the next five years that will enable clinical treatments to be developed for U.S. troops and support personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan, who incurred severe combat injuries to the face and jaws.
"This is a profoundly essential and necessary mission that will address the compelling need to produce regenerative therapies for our wounded service members," Hollinger said.
Hollinger's craniofacial team includes the two renowned "fathers of tissue engineering," Bob Langer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Joseph Vacanti from Harvard Univerrsity, as well as Rutger's Kohn and Scott Guelcher at Vanderbilt University. In addition, AFIRM funding will enable Hollinger and Krzystof Matyjaszewski, the J.C. Warner University Professor of Natural Sciences at Carnegie Mellon to support a postdoctoral student who will work on AFIRM projects.
Other highly distinguished clinical members of Hollinger's team include: Dr. William Futrel, former chair of plastic surgery at UPMC; Dr. Frank Papay, chair of plastic surgery and dermatology at the Cleveland Clinic; Dr. Chris Post of Allegheny General Hospital, with whom Hollinger will do much of the pre-clinical work; Dr. Joe Rosen of Dartmouth University; Dr. Raymond Harshbarger, director of craniofacial surgery for Walter Reed Army Medical Center; Dr. Robert Hale, chair of oral and maxillofacial surgery at Brooke Army Medical Center; Dr. John P. Schmitz, an international authority on oral and maxillofacial surgery; Josh Wenke, director of the bone program at the Institute of Surgical Research; and Dr. Rear Admiral Bruce Doll, who until he was activated for military duty in November was a professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dentistry, and an adjunct professor in biomedical engineering at Carnegie Mellon working with Hollinger at the BTEC.
Hollinger's team, in conjunction with corporate partners, will develop bone regeneration therapies that will progress to clinical stage within three years and include novel biodegradeable, biocompatible polymers and recombinant proteins.
Hollinger's efforts will be complemented by Newell Washburn, a member of the Wake Forest-led consortium and an assistant professor in the departments of Chemistry and Biomedical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon. Washburn will focus on developing advanced therapies to promote scarless wound-healing. Specifically, Washburn and his research group will make polymeric materials that regulate inflammatory responses and encourage healing.
In addition to tissue and biomedical engineering, AFIRM will exploit innovative approaches to regenerative medicine that will include stem cells and transplants to stimulate the body to repair and regenerate damaged tissues and organs. Moreover, AFIRM will dramatically accelerate the advancement of promising biomaterials, and cell-based and combined regenerative medicine technologies to restore form and function to wounded service members.
The AFIRM-inspired products also will serve civilian trauma and burn patients. Furthermore, AFIRM will provide key opportunities to enhance the education and training of students and clinical residents, advance academic careers of junior faculty and lead to spin-off companies that will create jobs and help local economies.
"The craniofacial AFIRM funding at the BTEC will be a terrific boost to our academic thrust; it will support several post docs and Ph.D.s, as well as Joe King, who will receive his master's degree with us," Hollinger said. "AFIRM and its mission are especially significant to King because he is a member of the elite 82nd U.S. Army Airborne currently on active duty in Afghanistan, and he has seen first-hand the devastation of combat injuries," Hollinger said.
In addition to the BTEC at Carnegie Mellon, the Rutgers-led consortium includes: the New Jersey Center for Biomaterials at Rutgers University; the National Center for Regenerative Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic; Case Western Reserve University; Stony Brook University; Dartmouth College; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School; the Mayo Clinic; Northwestern University; the University of Cincinnati; the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey; the University of Pennsylvania; the University of Virginia; and Vanderbilt University.
Several consortium institutions are supported by a large number of industrial collaborators and participating health care companies that have expressed an interest in the commercialization of new products and therapies anticipated to emerge from the AFIRM program.
(Pictured above is Jeffrey Hollinger.)