University of Arkansas researchers have received a $480,000 grant to study how engineered coatings could impact therapeutic human mesenchymal stromal cells, or hMSCs.
The National Science Foundation awarded the grant to Jorge Almodovar, an assistant professor of chemical engineering, and Raj Rao, a professor and the head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering. This grant was part of the National Science Foundation’s Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems.
Through the grant, the researchers will investigate extracellular matrix mimetic coatings and how these coatings affect hMSCs. The goal of the research is to develop therapies for treat currently incurable diseases.
“The proposed work came about from preliminary data in our group showing how our engineered ECM mimetic coatings influence the behavior of therapeutic human mesenchymal stromal cells,” Almodovar said in a statement. “Although we observed some interesting behavior regarding cell growth, we didn’t know why our coatings positively influenced the cells. This project leverages Dr. Rao’s expertise in hMSC biology and my expertise in hMSC culture and biomaterials to investigate the mechanisms by which our coatings enhance cell behavior.”