MGH Research Scholars Program
The MGH Research Scholars Program was established to support early career researchers with innovative yet unproven ideas that have the potential to transform the future of medicine. Funded 100% through philanthropy, this program gives researchers the freedom and flexibility they need to follow the science wherever it leads. History has shown that brilliant scientists who are given free rein to explore new frontiers make the greatest, often unexpected, advances.
Developing the Next Generation of Therapies for Tendon and Ligament Injury and Disease
Movement is essential to our identity and expression as individuals, whether through sports, dance, music or playing with our children. Musculoskeletal injuries—particularly those to tendons and ligaments—can be devastating. These injuries impact our day-to-day mobility, independence and engagement in activities we love.
Current treatment options are limited to physical therapy or surgical interventions. Complete functional restoration is clinically challenging as tendons and ligaments cannot regenerate.
Healing is also limited by degeneration associated with the original injury and can lead to joint instability, which is a major contributor to osteoarthritis. The major goal of my laboratory is to harness tendon regenerative medicine strategies to optimize healing potential and restore pain-free function.
We employ multiple model systems—such as zebrafish, mouse and human stem cells—to identify new therapeutic targets. As mammals have limited regenerative capacity, we established a new regenerative model in the zebrafish and discovered pathways that promote tendon regeneration. In mouse models, we identified a crucial stem cell population that mobilizes to promote tendon healing and have found a similar cell in human tendons.
The MGH Research Scholar award will expand my work integrating knowledge across model systems, innovating the next generation of therapies for tendon and ligament injury and disease.