AMEER AND LOSORDO RECEIVE IBNAM-BAXTER RESEARCH INCUBATOR PROGRAM GRANTS
The Institute for Bionanotechnology in Medicine (IBNAM) awarded the 2009-2010 IBNAM-Baxter Research Incubator grants to Guillermo A. Ameer and Douglas W. Losordo.
This IBNAM-Baxter program provides seed funding for innovative interdisciplinary research projects in bionanomedicine. Incubator grants allow Northwestern University (NU) faculty members to launch exploratory and high-risk research and the program encourages collaborative interdisciplinary research projects that bring together faculty from the Feinberg School of Medicine, McCormick School of Engineering, and/or Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.
Ameer, an associate professor of biomedical engineering at McCormick, holds a second appointment in the Department of Surgery at Feinberg. His research focuses on developing bioengineered vascular bypass grafts. Ameer's Incubator project, "Bioengineering Grafts to Promote Endogenous Endothelization, is performed in collaboration with Melina Kibbe, associate professor of surgery in the Division of Vascular Surgery at Feinberg.
Currently available synthetic vascular grafts have poor outcomes following peripheral artery bypass grafting, with 70% of these grafts no longer functioning at two years. Outcomes for prosthetic grafts are so dismal for coronary artery bypass grafting that they are not even used for this purpose. To address this problem, Ameer and Kibbe use a novel approach to modify the prosthetic graft material to promote the formation of a functional vascular lining that will result in greater long-term patency of prosthetic vascular grafts. Ameer fabricates the material and Kibbe assesses the grafts biologically, both in vitro and in vivo.
Losordo's IBNAM-Baxter project, "Retention and Maintenance of Endothelial Progenitor Cells in the Ischemic Target Region by Bioactive, Self-Assembling Nanofibers," focuses on research to advance new therapeutic strategies to prevent or reduce tissue damage and improve functionality as a result of cardiovascular disease. Losordo works on a self-assembling, bioactive nanofiber platform to enhance stem cell therapy and improve effectiveness of treatment in ischemic or damaged tissue.
Using the IBNAM Peptide Synthesis Core Facility for peptide synthesis and purification, Matthew J. Webber, a PhD student in biomedical engineering from Samuel I. Stupp's group, develops the nanofibers used in Losordo's research. Stupp is IBNAM's director and Board of Trustees Professor of Materials Science and Engineering (McCormick), Chemistry (Weinberg), and Medicine (Feinberg).
Losordo is director of Feinberg Cardiovascular Research Institute at Northwestern University and of the Program in Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, professor of medicine at Feinberg, and the Eileen M. Foell Professor of Heart Research.
About the Award
The IBNAM-Baxter Research Incubator Program provides one-year grants of $50,000 to Northwestern faculty members for interdisciplinary high-risk research projects. Awards are designed to seed projects with the potential to have great impact on medicine and attract external funding for further development. The partnership between IBNAM and Baxter Healthcare Corporation began in 2002, with the first grants awarded the following year. Baxter funds the program, which is administrated by IBNAM.