Congratulations to Dr. Alejandro Almarza on his recent NIH R01 Grant for his project titled “Polymer Scaffolds for Mandibular Condyle Cartilage Regeneration”. Alex is an Associate Professor in Oral Biology in the School of Dental Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh with a secondary appointment in the Department of Bioengineering. He is also the Director of the The TMJ Laboratory which is a part of the Center for Craniofacial Regeneration (CCR). The CCR is based at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine and the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, a program of the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The project is in collaboration with Dr. Juan Taboas, an Associate Professor with the Department of Oral Biology.

The objective of this study is to regenerate fibrocartilage-bone interface of the mandibular condyle in skeletally mature goats using a comprehensive tissue engineering approach.  A condylar defect will be treated with novel multilayer scaffold implant designed to promote site-specific tissue regeneration.  Successful completion of this proposal is the critical step to provide a regenerative therapy to treat TMJ mandibular cartilage degeneration, and a basis for successful osteochondral tissue regeneration in other sites.

The 4 year grant awards over $2.5 million towards their research.

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