EUL Seminar Series: Prof. Jean-Philippe St-Pierre
Designing Instructive Biomaterials for Cartilage Tissue Engineering
Prof. Jean-Philippe St-Pierre
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
University of Ottawa
Wednesday, October 13, 2021
Wong Building, 1020
(Please note that according to McGill COVID regulations, all audience must show vaccine passport and wear a procedural mask during the lecture)
The overarching goal of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine is to develop therapeutic approaches that maintain, improve, or restore tissue functions. Advances in the field go hand-in-hand with an ever-increasing understanding of the physiological and pathological processes that impact tissue homeostasis. In this talk, I will describe some of my group’s recent work to apply this understanding of tissue structures and signalling in the development of novel biomaterials for articular cartilage regeneration. I will first discuss an array of projects aimed at developing instructive hydrogels to encapsulate cells with chondrogenic potential and stimulate ECM deposition in osteoarthritic joints. I will also discuss efforts to induce cells to deposit ECM in a depth-dependent manner to recreate aspects of the native zonal organization of articular cartilage. Related work to enable the quantitative evaluation of zonal organization in tissues such as articular cartilage using Raman spectroscopy will be described. I will also present a project carried out to develop a material functionalized with a cryptic ECM fragment to mitigate tissue fibrosis in the peritoneal membrane. Cryptic ECM fragments can be released from the action of proteases and elicit specific biological cues that are not available to cells in the full-length protein, making these an interesting class of bioactive cues for tissue engineering applications. These last two projects, performed during my postdoctoral fellowship at Imperial College London, represent the foundations for new projects pertaining to cartilage biology that are just starting in my group now.
Dr. St-Pierre is an early-career investigator based at the University of Ottawa since 2017. He is developing a research program focused on the development of tissue engineering technologies to improve osteoarthritis treatment. He is particularly interested in the design of biomaterials that act as instructive environments to control cell responses. He was previously a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Prof. Molly Stevens’ group at Imperial College London. He completed a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto (2011) with Profs. Rita Kandel and Robert Pilliar, an MEng at McGill University (2004), as well as a BASc in Chemical Engineering (2002) and a BSc in Biochemistry (2002) at the University of Ottawa. He currently holds a Stars Career Development Award from the Arthritis Society.