SOE Research Seminar - Engineering Pro-angiogenic and Immunomodulatory Biomaterials for Cardiovascular Regeneration Research Seminar

Date: 01-19-2021

Time: 02:00 PM



Engineering pro-angiogenic and immunomodulatory biomaterials for cardiovascular regeneration 

Dr. Fabiola Munarin 

Brown University 

2-3 pm 

Tuesday, January 19th, 2021 

Zoom meeting ID: 95436177191 

Coronary artery disease is a severe ischemic condition characterized by the reduction of blood flow in the arteries of the heart that results in the dysfunction and death of cardiac tissue. Despite research over several decades on how to reduce long-term complications and promote angiogenesis in the infarct, the medical field has yet to define effective treatments for inducing revascularization in the ischemic tissue. The main goal of my research is to develop functional biomaterials for the controlled release of pro-angiogenic and immunomodulatory cytokines, for orchestrating wound healing and revascularization in the ischemic myocardium. Collagen and alginate biomaterials are produced in different physical forms (bulk hydrogels, microspheres, injectable formulations) and are chemically modified to enhance their efficacy as cytokine carriers. Furthermore, the reparative effects of varying pro-angiogenic growth factors (vascular endothelial growth factor, basic fibroblast growth factor and sonic hedgehog) and of immunomodulatory cytokines (colony-stimulating factor and anti-inflammatory interleukins 4/6/13) have been evaluated in vitro and in a predictive in vivo model of ischemia, the ischemic skin flap model, to optimize the new therapeutics that we use for treating infarcted rat hearts. The optimized biomaterials have been evaluated in a rat model of myocardial infarct (ischemia/reperfusion). Increased revascularization, macrophage polarization toward healing phenotypes and global cardiac function measured with echocardiography up to 30 days demonstrate the therapeutic potential of the proposed pro-angiogenic and immunomodulatory treatment in a clinically relevant infarct model. 

Biosketch: Dr Fabiola Munarin obtained her PhD in Bioengineering from Politecnico di Milano, Italy, in 2011. She joined Brown University in 2014, focusing her research on cardiac regeneration. Since 2019, she is Assistant Professor (Research) at Brown University. Her research interests involve the use of biomaterials to engineer platforms for revascularization therapy, and her principal research goal is to develop novel immunomodulatory therapeutics for treating ischemic injuries in the setting of diabetes. Dr Munarin is the recipient of the 2013 European Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Doctoral Award and of the Materials Science and Engineering C 2014 Young Researcher Award. 

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