Genevieve Romanowicz, PhD
University of Oregon
Engineering for Soft Tissue and Bone Regeneration in an Oro-antral Communication Defect Model
Dr. Genevieve Romanowicz is a post-doctoral scholar
and Portland Oral Health Fellow working with Dr. Robert Guldberg at the Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact, University of Oregon. Her research focuses on translating cutting-edge regenerative engineering strategies to clinically relevant maxillofacial problems. She obtained her DDS and PhD from the University of Michigan in 2021, comparing bone composition and biomechanics in long bones and craniofacial bones. Dr. Romanowicz was selected as a rising leader in the fields of oral, dental, and craniofacial research as part of the NIDCR MIND-the-Future program. Her current work encompasses bone tissue engineering, bone-like organoids, and biomarkers to predict fracture healing.
Following complicated tooth extractions or reconstructive surgeries, bone and soft tissue defects between the mouth and sinus can occur, which are called oro-antral communication (OAC) defects. If untreated, a fistula can develop preventing proper healing and making functional restoration and reconstruction difficult and prolonging the healing timeframe. Current clinical standards of treatment can close the fistula, but at the expense of the surrounding tissue. There is a clinical need to develop minimally invasive solutions that also accelerate the healing timeframe. To this end, we have established pre-clinical animal model of this common human clinical condition. Here we propose two new tissue engineering approaches to both restore the soft and hard tissues in OAC defects, aiming to create a one-step regenerative approach to ultimately accelerate the healing timeframe for patients. Aim 1 will optimize adhesive and membrane configurations to create a soft tissue closure method that is minimally invasive. We will then test the optimal adhesive and membrane combination in our OAC model to determine the impact on soft tissue regeneration. Aim 2 will test two tissue engineering therapies to promote bone regeneration in the OAC model. These therapies include our newly developed bone mimetic created from human bone marrow cells and a locally delivered, low-dose, bone morphogenic protein (BMP-2). Using time series micro-computed tomography, we can determine the healing rate with each therapy. We also will determine the regenerative and immune response for each therapy with 3D immunofluorescent imaging. The outcomes of these studies will characterize a new adhesive tissue engineering solution to this common clinical problem. Future work includes application in larger craniofacial defects of hard and soft tissue with complex geometries and design constraints.
(PI) Dr. Genevieve Romanowicz, University of Oregon
(Co-I) Dr. Robert Guldberg, University of Oregon (Co-I) Dr. Srinivasa Chandra, Oregon Health and Science University
Dr. Jennifer Bergstrom, Oregon Health and Science University
Dr. Yuhan Lee, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Dr. Jeff Karp, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Dr. Paul Dalton, University of Oregon
Dr. Luiz Bertassoni, Oregon Health and Science University
Dr. Ramesh Jasti, University of Oregon