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Repairing and Replacing Cartilage in Knees

Using 3-D tissue engineering to repair and replace articular cartilage

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC Dr. Jeffrey Spang
Dr. Elizabeth Loboa

The National Stem Cell Foundation is partnering with the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF) to support research being conducted by Drs. Jeffrey Spang and Elizabeth Loboa at UNC Chapel Hill.

Drs. Spang and Loboa are using stem cell guided 3-D tissue engineering to create functional osteochondral grafts to repair or replace articular cartilage. Osteoarthritis, a common condition of cartilage failure that can lead to limited range of motion, bone damage and debilitating pain, is the most common cause of disability among U.S. adults.

Biography for Dr. Loboa:

Dr. Elizabeth Loboa is Dean and Professor of Bioengineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Missouri, Columbia. Prior to that, she was Associate Chair and Professor in the Joint  Department of Biomedical Engineering at UNC-Chapel Hill and NC State University (NCSU); and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at NCSU.

Dr. Loboa received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Davis and her M.S. and Ph. in Biomechanical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, respectively, from Stanford University.  Although dean, she continues to maintain an active research portfolio with work in her laboratory focused on: 1.) biomimetic mechanical, electrical and material stimuli to  human stem cells for functional tissue engineering applications; and, 2.) textile-based and nanofibrous “smart bandages” as controlled release systems for wound healing, tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine applications requiring antimicrobial, antibacterial, and/or anti-inflammatory treatment(s). Dr. Loboa has published over 275 peer-reviewed conference proceedings, book chapters and journal articles.

Dr. Loboa’s research has been funded by the Nonwoven Institute, North Carolina Biotechnology Center, National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.  She is a recipient of the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Award, Sigma Xi Faculty Research Award, NCSU Chancellor’s Innovation Award,  NCSU Faculty Scholar Award, UK-US Stem Cell Collaboration Development Award and the Stanford University Distinguished Alumni Scholar Award. She is a Fellow of both the Biomedical Engineering Society and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

Biography for Dr. Spang:

Dr. Jeffrey Spang is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Orthopaedics at the UNC School of Medicine. He received a BS in Biology from Duke University and his Medical Degree from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

He completed his surgical internship at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA and his residency in orthopaedics at the University of North Carolina.

Dr. Spang also completed a fellowship in sports medicine at the University of Connecticut and a research fellowship at the Technical University of Munich in Munich, Germany. Dr. Spang’s practice is focused on sports medicine with an interest in soft tissue trauma of the shoulder and knee.

July 12, 2017

“Sharp jump in number of ACL tears among teens”

wral.com, July 12, 2017

Dr. Jeffery Spang discusses the importance of standardizing evidence-based injury prevention programs among youth sporting organizations. Read more.