The clock is ticking: UMass Amherst researchers to investigate the role of circadian rhythms in tissue engineering

alarm clock sits on bedside table

The human internal “clock” responsible for regulating sleep cycles and many other biological functions will be explored as a tool for optimizing tissue regeneration under a $1.91 million grant biomedical engineer and assistant professor Cathal Kearney has received from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences. 

“If you look at almost every medical challenge we have, there’s a circadian rhythm component,” Kearney says. “The fact that it’s such an important piece of the body and we don’t account for it in tissue engineering studies is a huge gap that needs to be filled.”

Kearney is collaborating on the research with assistant professor of mechanical and industrial engineering Meghan Huber, who is designing the project’s robotic system for controlling circadian rhythms in engineered tissues outside the lab; S. Thai Thayumanavan, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, who is co-developing some of the drug delivery methods; and Ilia Karatsoreos, associate professor of psychological and brain sciences, a circadian rhythm expert who will also help with studying the technologies in relevant in-vivo models. 

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