Jenny Puetzer and Kirk Samaroo Win Top Awards at the World Congress of Biomechanics

Jenny Puetzer and Kirk Samaroo, both PhD students from the Bonassar laboratory, were awarded 1st place and 2nd place respectively at the PhD student paper competition at the World Congress of Biomechanics in Boston, MA.  Jenny recently completed her PhD in Biomedical Engineering and was awarded a Whitaker Foundation International Travel Fellowship to support her postdoctoral studies at Imperial College, London, UK, which will begin in August. Kirk is a 5th year PhD student in Mechanical Engineering who plans to complete his doctoral degree this fall.

The World Congress of Biomechanics was attended by more than 4000 scientists from 56 countries. More than 800 students from around the world entered the PhD student paper competition. Students were judged initially on the submission of a written abstract and at the meeting on a 15 minute oral presentation.

Jenny Puetzer was awarded first place for her paper titled “Development of Tissue Engineered Menisci with Physiologically Distributed Loading.” This work describes the combination of new biomaterial scaffolds with finite element-based design of a unique bioreactor to drive the development of tissue engineered menisci with collagen fiber size and organization similar to the native meniscus.  The long term goal of this work is to develop meniscus implants to help the 1 million patients a year in the US who need reconstructive surgery on their meniscus.

Kirk Samaroo was awarded second place for his paper titled “Prevention of Cartilage Degeneration by Intraarticular Treatment with Lubricin-Mimetics in the Rat Following Anterior Cruciate Ligament Transection.” This paper describes development of a biomimetic lubricant for articular cartilage that is based on the structure of the native glycoprotein, lubricin.  Kirk’s work showed that such lubricants bind to and lubricate cartilage and can inhibit the onset and progression of arthritis when injected into a joint after injury.  This work is aimed at offering a new treatment to the 5 million patients a year in the US who suffer joint injuries that will eventually lead to osteoarthritis.

 

Congratulations to Jenny and Kirk!