Injuries to tendons and ligaments result in a slow and imperfect regenerative response. In most cases, the original biomechanical properties of the tissue are never restored, resulting in scarring and limited mobility. Research in our laboratory uses a multidisciplinary approach, combining genetic and chemical screening with different model systems such as zebrafish and stem cells, to identify essential regulators of tendon and ligament biology.
One major area of research in the laboratory aims to identify the cues that direct progenitor cells to become mature tendons and ligaments. During embryogenesis, progenitor cell populations will form the tendon or cartilage tissues in our limbs, head and spine. We are interested in elucidating the factors that regulate this fate decision, expand tendon and ligament populations and promote more faithful differentiation into these lineages.
We are also focused on understanding the critical factors that coordinate the attachments between muscle, tendon, and bone. By combining live-imaging and high-throughput screening approaches, our goal is to identify the molecules and cellular behaviors governing these processes. In the long term, my laboratory aims to transform these discoveries into regenerative biology solutions to better heal and repair tendon and ligament injuries.
Erin Betters, Ph.D.
Rishita Shah, Ph.D.
Jessica Chen, BBS
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