[ skip to content ]

More Information about this image

You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Grant Supports 3D Innovation in Stem Cell-Related Cancer Research

By Irvin B. Harrell

Robert Bruno and Patrick Sachs, professors in the School of Medical Diagnostic and Translational Sciences, recently received a $100,000 grant from the Jeffress Research Grants Program to further their efforts using biofabrication in stem cell-related research.

The grant is a first of its kind for Old Dominion University researchers in the College of Health Sciences.

Biofabrication, which allows scientists to create three-dimensional environments to study cellular interaction, has been a goal of Bruno and Sachs since they received a 3-D printer in 2013. The scientists along with doctoral student John Reid used the device to create its own attachments, converting it into a bioprinter. They then used the device to further develop their vision.

Understanding the basic mechanisms behind how stem cells develop into different cell types is critical for the generation of new therapies for cancer, tissue repair, and developmental disorders.

"This proposal will adapt newly developed three-dimensional bioprinting technology to advance our understanding of this issue by carefully examining how cells confer different information to daughter cells during divisions," Bruno said.

The grant for "Three-Dimensional Bioprinting for High-Throughput In-Vitro Modeling of Asymmetric Stem Cell Divisions" was announced in late June.

"We have received good feedback about the concepts of this approach for studying stem cell biology, however, the consistent critique was the development of preliminary experiments," Sachs said. "This grant will be a critical stepping stone to help us establish this technique and secure larger federal funding."

The Jeffress Memorial Trust was founded in 1981 by Robert M. Jeffress in memory of his parents and is awarded to top schools in Virginia for research in chemical, medical or other scientific fields. "The Jeffress Trust awards support high impact, innovative one-year projects that integrate computational and quantitative scientific methodologies across a broad range of scientific disciplines," according to its website.

"Receiving such an award takes dogged determination," said Professor Roy Ogle, chair of the School of Medical Diagnostic and Translational Sciences. "It's the type of grant that can require applicants to apply several times to receive."

Ogle was a Jeffress grant recipient while studying at the University of Virginia.

"I'm proud of Patrick and Robert for their persistence and thankful that the Jeffress Foundation, which was so instrumental in helping my career get started, is supporting these excellent scientists," he said.

In 2015, Bruno and Sachs received a prestigious Commonwealth Health Research Board (CHRB) grant in their study of cellular mutations that can lead to the increased risk of breast cancer in women and men. Bruno says that the stem cell will fuel the breast cancer research and vice versa.

The (breast cancer) project is about how the micro-environment controls cancer cells," Bruno said. "This latest research deals with how the micro-environment controls stem cells. Two sides of the same coin."

Related News Stories

Bird Impact on Window

ODU Researchers Examine Bird Collisions Across the Nation

Nearly 1 billion birds die annually in North America after colliding with building windows. But Old Dominion University Student, Natasha Hagemeyer and her team is working to change that. (More)

Coastal Resilience Meeting

VIDEO: ODU Hosts Innovative Coastal Resilience Conference with Universities from Across the Nation

Coastal resilience researchers from Old Dominion University were recently joined by experts from 14 other Universities around the country in a roundtable discussion to address a problem impacting communities globally: sea level rise. (More)

Remote Control

Streaming Services Will Continue to Crowd Out Cable, ODU Expert Says

The growth of online streaming services like Netflix and Hulu are outpacing traditional cable by a wide margin and experts say that trend will continue to grow. (More)

Site Navigation

Experience Guaranteed

Enhance your college career by gaining relevant experience with the skills and knowledge needed for your future career. Discover our experiential learning opportunities.

Academic Days

Picture yourself in the classroom, speak with professors in your major, and meet current students.

Upcoming Events

From sports games to concerts and lectures, join the ODU community at a variety of campus events.