The Venu Varanasi Laboratory
Why We Research
We want to help the body heal more rapidly and efficiently from traumatic injuries, especially those that involve any level of tissue loss. To this end, our lab is creating new material designs, coupled with advanced technologies such as 3D printing and nanofabrication, to create new biomaterial chemistries that will help the body overcome traumatic injuries and tissue loss to achieve healing faster and more effectively.
What We Research
We conduct research on the effects of oxidative stress as it relates to its impedence of traumatic injury repair and tissue regeneration. Oxidative stress is a condition that results from elevated levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that result from persistent inflammation or products of other immunological responses upon injury and tissue damage that result in the formation of free-radical biomolecules. This condition impedes tissue repair through damage to DNA of various progenitor cells responsible for tissue regeneration, thereby interrupting the healing process.
A great number of therapeutic strategies have been attempted, but they are inadequate due to the sheer level of volumetric muscle, bone, or connective tissue loss. Therefore, we must shift our focus to the use of biomaterials to make up for the significant loss of tissue. Yet, current biomaterials that are FDA approved for clinical use are either designed inadequately or intrinsically do not have the properties to reduce ROS through antioxidant stimulation. Antioxidants reduce ROS through reduction-oxidation mechanisms that overcome the spin restriction that inhibits ROS reduction.
In our approach, we use biomaterials that are either designed or have the intrinsic chemistry to stimulate antioxidant expression while also reducing ROS. We use nanofabrication and 3D methodology to create new materials designs and chemistries that can stimulate healing, conduct tissue growth, and reduce the impact of oxidative stress. We employ a myriad of biopolymers and nano-silicate thin films that we use with implants or as scaffolds to induce and grow new bone, muscle, or connective tissue formation. We have presented several results of our work in the form of book chapters, papers, and patent filings. Our goal is to provide the biomaterial designs that rapidly heal volumetric tissue loss while also resorbing and leaving natural tissue in its place.
Who We Are
Neelam Ahuja, BDS, MS
Kamal Awad, BS, MS
Henry Tran, BS
Prajwal Bramhavar, BS
Partners and Acknowledgements
Partnering Labs and Centers
Research in this lab is funded and supported in part by grants from the National Institutes of Health.