Dr. McBride-Gagyi awarded 2-year, $394,000 NIH grant

Posted: August 31, 2022
Dr. Sara McBride-Gagyi Portrait
Dr. McBride-Gagyi, Assistant Professor

Dr. Sara McBride-Gagyi, Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering, has received a new 2-year NIH R21 grant to support her innovative research that seeks to both understand the mechanisms of new bone repair surgeries and to use engineering approaches to discover new bone regeneration biology. Dr. McBride-Gagyi is off to a fast start after recently joining the department this summer. Utilizing this award, she is collaborating with investigators at her previous institution.

This award, in the amount of $393,800 over two years, is for Dr. McBride-Gagyi's research titled "Bone Regeneration in a Mouse Model of Masquelet's Induced Membrane Technique." Collaborators on this project include Daemeon Nicolaou and J Tracey Watson (Saint Louis University, co-Is)

Dr. McBride-Gagyi will use this award to address how large bone defects caused by trauma, infection, or cancer lead to thousands of amputees and millions of dollars in costs. Recently, a two-staged surgical regimen, Masquelet’s Induced Membrane Technique (MIMT), has presented a revolutionary way to reconstruct critical-sized defects that is more ideal than the current standards and could serve a wider patient population. More importantly, it presents a unique opportunity to discover new bone regeneration biology which could be applied to other bone formation situations (i.e. non-union, fusions) and possibly other tissues. However, MIMT’s regeneration mechanisms are completely unknown. Its critical functions have not yet been defined, so there is no evidence to improve its clinical application or harness the biological principles for other tissue regeneration scenarios. A critical barrier to investigating MIMT’s mechanisms is that it has only been thoroughly established in rats and larger animals. The number of genetic tools and reagents available for these species are far fewer than those available for mice. Thus, establishing a mouse-based MIMT model would be very powerful and allow much more in-depth study and manipulation. The goals of this project are to establish a mouse-based MIMT model, compare/contrast this model with what is known in other species, and use tools only available in mice to answer some fundamental MIMT questions. We hypothesize that a mouse model is feasible and that host cells, specifically osteoblasts, are mainly responsible for new bone generation. To test this hypothesis, we will first compare/contrast membrane formation and bone regeneration dynamics in normal C57BL/6J mice with what is already known from other species – most specifically rats. After establishing that a mouse MIMT model is feasible, we will use transgenic C57BL/6J mice to determine the contributions of host/graft cells to regeneration.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. McBride-Gagyi and her team for this outstanding accomplishment!