This past weekend not only ushered in Mizzou’s first home game of the season, but the return of Saturday Morning Science. The weekly lecture series connects the Columbia community with MU scientists and their research, from bio-engineering to volcanology to anthropology and linguistics.
Elizabeth G. Loboa, dean of the College of Engineering, kicked off the semester with her talk on tissue engineering in the age of drug-resistant bacteria.
Tissue engineering is about turning cells into tissues and organs, for example, fat-derived stem cells into muscle, bone and cartilage. The tissues take shape on tiny scaffolds that are bio-compatible and biodegradable.
The Loboa lab does this, but they’ve added an extra layer to their research: Loboa’s scaffolds also act as pipelines that deliver wound-healing and anti-bacterial compounds to cells as they grow into tissue. The idea is to reduce infection, inflammation and scarring as the wound heals.
“We’re trying to kill these bacteria while helping these stem cells become the cells we want to create,” Loboa said, about her research at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University.
Using a process called electrospinning, Loboa’s group makes scaffolds shaped like porous fibers, sheaths, or hollow sheaths. Depending on their structure, these scaffolds act like faucet taps that control the rate and timing at which anti-bacterial compounds are released.
“I look at our fibers as delivery platforms,” Loboa said.
Saturday Morning Science takes place 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Bond LSC’s Monsanto Auditorium. Coffee and bagels are available preceding the talks. This semester’s schedule is as follows:
9/17: Carolyn Orbann, Assistant Teaching Professor, Department of Health Sciences, “Historical Epidemics, Novel Techniques: Using Historical and Ethnographic Materials to Build Computer Simulation Models”
9/24: Michael Marlo: Associate Professor of English, “Documenting linguistic diversity: a view from the East African Great Lakes”
10/1: Steve Keller, Associate Professor of Chemistry, “The 20 Greatest Hits in Science…In an Hour”
10/8: Manuel Leal, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, “Are Lizards Smarter Than Those Who Study them?”
10/15: Stephan Kanne: Executive Director and Associate Professor, Thompson Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders, “What Do We Look For When We Diagnose Autism?”
10/29: Libby Cowgill, Assistant Professor Anthropology, “Fitness for the Ages: How to Lift Like a Neanderthal?”
11/5: Arianna Soldati, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Geological Sciences, “Living in a Viscous World: A Volcanologist’s Perspective”
11/12: Frank Schmidt and Gavin Conant, Professor of Biochemistry (Schmidt); Associate Professor of Bioinformatics, Department of Animal Science (Conant), “Networks in Biology and Beyond”
12/3: Elizabeth King, Assistant Professor, Division of Biological Sciences, “What’s the Best Way to Divide up the Pie: The Price of Long Life”