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Annamalai Receives Igniting Research Collaborations Pilot Grant

December 15, 2020

Annamalai's project is titled “Effect of mechanical strain on myokine secretion and its role in diabetic bone disease.”

Ramkumar Annamalai, assistant professor in the F. Joseph Halcomb III, M.D. Department of Biomedical Engineering, has been selected to receive a pilot grant through UK’s “Igniting Research Collaborations (IRC)” program. His project is titled “Effect of mechanical strain on myokine secretion and its role in diabetic bone disease.”

For this project, Dr. Annamalai is collaborating with clinicians Dr. Eva Kalaitzoglou and Dr. John Fowlkes to engineer a cell culture device to study the effects of exercise on bone metabolism in diabetes. Diabetes is a chronic disorder and a significant risk factor for bone diseases. Exercise training shows promise to prevent diabetic bone disease. Still, the lack of relevant models to elucidate the effects of muscle secretions on bone biology, isolated from biomechanical stimuli, is still a challenge. The collaborative research team will develop a robust in vitro model using biomaterial constructs developed in the Annamalai Lab to study muscle-bone crosstalk in diabetes. This in vitro model will help identify molecular targets and develop engineered therapies for diabetic bone disease in the long-term.

The team plans to use this pilot award to strengthen applications for extramural research grants.

“Dr. Annamalai is one of the assistant professors hired into the F. Joseph Halcomb III, M.D. Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) in the fall of 2019, and this award is a reflection that the department is positioning well in contributing to elevating the Engineering-Medicine collaborations at UK,” says Dr. Guigen Zhang, chair of the BME Department.

Congratulations to Dr. Annamalai! 

Osteogenic microtissues. Adult stem cells seeded on biomaterial micro constructs and differentiated in to bone cells.
Osteogenic microtissues. Adult stem cells seeded on biomaterial micro constructs and differentiated in to bone cells.