Published April 2, 2020
Nika Rajabian, a PhD candidate in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, won first place for her research poster in the annual SEAS Graduate Student Poster Competition.
Entitled “Bioengineered Skeletal Muscle as a Model of Muscle Aging and Regeneration,” Rajabian’s research explores a senescent model of bioengineered skeletal muscle that can be used to investigate the biological impact of aging on metabolic or genetic diseases.
“Skeletal muscle comprises 45-55% of body mass and plays important physiological roles in the body, such as enabling skeletal movements and regulating metabolism. One of the major medical problems facing the elderly is the loss of muscle mass and force-generating capacity, which is known as sarcopenia,” said Stelios Andreadis, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and Rajabian’s advisor. “Nika is developing a 3D model of skeletal muscle tissue to study the effects of stem cell senescence (aging) on tissue function and how reversing the stem cell senescence may restore it.”
“The in vitro 3D bioengineered senescent skeletal muscle tissue using primary human myoblasts exhibited significantly reduced ability to generate contractile force and to regenerate in response to injury, similar to in vivo skeletal muscle from aged individuals. Therefore, my work may provide a powerful model for studying aging. In particular, it can be a platform for genetic or pharmacological testing to facilitate drug discoveries to lessen the impact of sarcopenia and restore muscle function,” says Rajabian, who came to UB in 2016, after completing her undergraduate degree at Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, Iran.
“The collaborative environment and great facilities make the University at Buffalo a great place to work in this area of research,” she added.
Graduate students from across the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences presented their research posters to faculty, staff, and fellow students during the annual Graduate Student Poster Competition, which was held on February 19. Judges included faculty from eight of the school’s nine departments. Fifteen students from across the school participated in the event.