Project 1A

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In Vitro Calcification Model

 In order to gain an understanding of the phenotypic switch of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) into osteoblast-like cells during vascular calcification, we have optimized an in vitro model to simulate vascular calcification. In addition, we are examining the signaling pathways involved in this phenotypic switch. 

 

Project 2A

Osteoclast-Mediated Cell Therapy

Medial vascular calcification is an active, cell-mediated condition in which native vascular smooth muscle cells differentiate into osteoblast-like cells and deposit bone mineral inside the artery walls in a process that closely resembles bone remodeling. Given the similarities between bone remodeling and vascular calcification, we propose to use osteoclasts (bone-resorbing cells) to demineralize calcified arteries. Towards this goal, an in vitro model is being optimized for vascular calcification that utilizes osteogenic agents to promote the differentiation of human vascular smooth muscle cells into osteoblast-like cells depositing mineral. To deliver osteoclasts to sites calcification in vivo, a polymeric delivery vehicle is being developed.

 

Project 2B

Stimuli-Responsive Chelation Delivery

Patients undergoing dialysis for the treatment of end-stage-renal disease contribute to the high number of cardiac-related mortality cases in the nation due to the tendency to develop vascular calcification. The longevity of dialysis treatment and food restrictions associated with severe renal failure often result in deficiency of a naturally occurring chelating proteins and dietary vitamin K. Chelating proteins function to bind with calcium and arrest mineral growth in the extracellular space by forming soluble complexes, then facilitating in their removal from arterial tissue and vitamin K2 promotes heart health by activating specific smooth muscle cell proteins, which prevent vascular calcification.  The primary focus of this research is to utilize the native circulatory system to deliver a protein-based therapy to calcified arteries via stimuli-responsive polymer vehicles in a minimally invasive manner to treat vascular calcification in high-risk patient groups.

 
 

Stem

Inclusion

  • K-12 Outreach

  • I AM GIRL

  • leaderSTATE

  • Boys & Girls Club of America

Project 3A and 3B

Engineering Education

  • Service-Learning

  • Maroon Institute for Writing Excellence

  • Peer Review Writing Assessment

Faculty Success

& Sustainability

  • WRITE NOW Retreat

  • NSF Funded Research: Preparing Black Female Faculty for Power Prominence and Presence in the Academy.

  • Faculty Development Conference: Preparing Black Female Faculty for Power Prominence and Presence in the Academy.

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