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Summit Purpose

  • New partnerships for research innovation
  • Identification of regulatory changes, legislation and institutional streamlining that will accelerate the transfer of knowledge from the laboratory to businesses
  • Ideas for product and service development that will guide private sector investment and demonstrate the need for a supportive government infrastructure
  • Insight about ways to collaborate with university researchers and other partners to transfer new technologies
  • New information on how to leverage the assets of universities, financial markets and business investment to create companies and jobs that will strengthen the economic foundations of the region

Business Journals Supplement

View the complete Missouri Regional Life Sciences Summit supplement from the Kansas City and St. Louis Business Journals. Click here to view.

Biomedical Tissue Engineering – Where We Go in the Future

Researchers and entrepreneurs examine breakthroughs in tissue engineering and regeneration that enhance healing, remodeling, and recovery.


Lynda Bonewald, interim vice chancellor for research, University of
Missouri-Kansas City MOspace page available Abstract


Marco Brotto, associate professor, nursing, medicine and biological sciences and director, UMKC Muscle Biology Research Group, University of Missouri-Kansas City MOspace page availableAbstract

This presentation will briefly review the astronomical impact of muscle diseases and sarcopenia on human health, as likely the major health care problem facing industrialized nations. Also it will be pointed that sarcopenia is only partially preventable with exercise and diet, and leads to premature death for many individuals. Further, the cost of treating these diseases is incredibly high and only bound to increase as the world population ages and lives longer. Therefore, research is urgently needed to pin-point molecular players/mechanisms that contribute to sarcopenia and muscle disorders. We will then share how we have used animal models of muscle biology research, and cell biological & molecular manipulations for a deeper understanding of molecular-genetic factors contributing to muscle disease, fatigue and sarcopenia. Our greatest hope now is to quickly translate what we have learned and discovered in the lab bench into the bed side in the years to come. In fact, in recent collaborative efforts with colleagues from the UMKC School of Engineering and Computing we have developed a new device that simultaneously delivers electrical, electromagnetic, and heat stimulation to muscles. We are now testing this device in muscle and bone cells. One of our goals is to find partners willing to invest in this technology in order for us to quickly move its testing from cells, to animals, and humans. We believe that this new device will be useful in the treatment of muscle disorders, muscle injuries and osteoporosis.

Delbert Day, curators' professor emeritus of ceramic engineering, Missouri University of Science and Technology MOspace page available Abstract Abstract

This presentation opens with a brief review of the Consortium for Bone and Tissue Repair and Regeneration which is a collaborative research program between faculty in the dental school at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the materials programs at Missouri University of Science and Technology. This intercampus consortium is developing advanced bioactive glasses and investigating their use for repairing traumatized bone and tissue. The latter part of this presentation discusses entrepreneurship and the locations of creative activity (patents) in Missouri, and closes with a case study of how research at Missouri S&T was successfully spun off to create a health care business.

Michael Detamore, associate professor of chemical and petroleum engineering, University of Kansas MOspace page available Abstract Abstract

Biomedical Tissue Engineering – Where We Go in the Future: My group at the University of Kansas is interested in biomaterials, stem cells and tissue engineering. Tissue engineering efforts focus primarily on bone and cartilage regeneration, including the in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), intervertebral disc (IVD), knee, cranium, and trachea. New collaborations at KUMC are leading us to explore the cochlea of the ear and the liver as well. Biomaterials-based efforts in our group include microsphere-based gradient scaffolds (TMJ, knee), colloidal gels (cranium), electrospinning (trachea, IVD) and interpenetrating network hydrogels (knee). Overall, our group is working to build our reputation in the areas of umbilical cord stem cells in musculoskeletal tissue engineering, TMJ biomechanics and tissue engineering, and gradients in tissue engineering.

My group is interested in the spectrum research from developmental projects up through commercialization and licensing of therapeutic products. We collaborate with several types of surgeons, engineers and biologists at KU, KUMC, UMKC, and beyond, and look forward to exploring further opportunities at the Missouri Regional Life Sciences Summit.

Mark L. Johnson, department of oral biology, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry MOspace page available No abstract available Abstract

New Insights Revealed by Genetic Studies and the Future of Treating Bone Health Related Issues: This presentation will examine the major role played by genetic studies in the identification of a fundamental pathway, the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, and it’s now appreciated multiple roles in bone cell biology. Specifically I will discuss how the genetic analysis of several families led to the discovery of this pathway and briefly summarize our work at understanding it’s central role in the responsiveness of bone to mechanical loading. These studies have recently focused our attention on developing a better understanding of the strain environment within bone at the level of the osteocyte and how physical signals regulates the function of this bone cell. These fundamental studies will be of critical importance to our understanding of how to treat bone diseases such as osteoporosis and for the design of better scaffolds for use in fracture repair and bone regeneration.

Walter D. Leon-Salas, computer science and electrical engineering department, University of Missouri-Kansas City MOspace page available Abstract

An Electro-Magnetic Cell Stimulator: A device to stimulate bone and muscle cell growth and possibly for treatment of bone and muscle injuries is presented. The device, called EStim, generates electric and magnetic pulses at programmable intervals. This device will also be used to study the crosstalk between bone and muscle cell growth. In a human or animal body, muscles and bones are intimately interrelated and the loss of activity in one of them affects the other. This interrelation is especially evident in persons with bone fractures. While the bone is healing, the muscles loose mass due to lack of exercise. Furthermore, when skeletal muscles are not exercised, bone mass decreases. In these situations, muscle mass can be partially maintained if externally stimulated by applying repetitive electric pulses. The EStim has been designed to generate electric pulses of different frequencies and amplitudes to stimulate muscle growth. It also generates magnetic pulses to stimulate bone growth. This dual stimulation is a unique feature of the EStim and makes it a promising device in the treatment of bone fractures or for muscle stimulation. Besides this clinical application, the EStim is being used to study the crosstalk at the cellular level between muscle and bone cells. A line of C2C12 cells is being used to test the effects of the electric and magnetic pulses on cell growth. Variables such as pulse repetition, field strength and rest period duration have been evaluated. Initial results show that electric stimulation induces cell hypertrophy similar to the ones observed in heat shock experiments (see abstract by Romero et al). The EStim device consists of three sections: the controller, the high-voltage generation unit and the high-current generation unit. The controller is built around the MSP430 low-power microcontroller. It handles communication with a host computer to change settings or to perform tests. Settings such as pulse repetition, pulse width, number of pulses, rest time between pulses, and magnetic field strength can be changed by the user. The controller also monitors the battery voltage and the maximum pulse current. As a safety measure, pulse generation is stopped if the current through the probe exceeds a preset value. The high-voltage generation unit consists of a boost converter that is able to generate voltages up to 40 V and an H-bridge that allows the generation of biphasic or monophasic electric pulses. The high-current unit consists of a buck converter able to generate currents up to 10 A. These large currents are used to generate magnetic fields of up to 10 mT. This device will be used to better understand the interplay between bones and muscles. Ultimately, our goal is test this device in animals and humans to fully realize its applications on musculoskeletal injuries and diseases.

Presented by the four campuses of the University of Missouri System
University of Missouri-ColumbiaUniversity of Missouri-Kansas CityMissouri University of Science and TechnologyUniversity of Missouri-St. Louis
Featuring experts from University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Missouri University of Science and Technology, University of Missouri-St. Louis, University of Kansas, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas State University, St. Louis University, Washington University in St. Louis, Iowa State University and the University of Saskatchewan, as well as business leaders, venture capitalists and policy makers