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MIIR scientist awarded $293,000 NIH grant

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. Dr. Jingwei Xie, a senior scientist at the Marshall Institute for Interdisciplinary Research (MIIR), has been awarded a $293,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to lead a project to develop a technique that may improve surgical repair of rotator cuff injuries.

The project will combine the expertise of two research groups at Marshall University. Xie, who is an expert in bone growth and development, and his team at MIIR will be working with Dr. Franklin D. Shuler, associate professor and vice chair of research in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the university's Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

According to Xie, rotator cuff injuries are among the most common conditions affecting the shoulder and can occur from falls or repetitive motions like throwing a baseball. Rotator cuff repair is also one of the most common orthopedic surgeries, with approximately 300,000 procedures performed annually in the United States alone.

He explains that rotator cuff surgery done with current methods has a failure rate that ranges from 20-90 percent, due in large part to the manner in which the tendons are reattached to the bone. For this project, his team will combine principles of engineering and biomedicine to construct a new type of biological device that will better mimic an uninjured tendon-to-bone attachment, and ultimately result in improved healing.

"We are pleased to be able to take advantage of this opportunity to combine expertise from two research groups at Marshall," Xie adds. "My background in tissue engineering and Dr. Shuler's extensive experience in clinical treatment of rotator cuff injury will allow us to do work that may very well improve the health and quality of life for individuals afflicted with these injuries. This research could also have a significant impact on the treatment of other, similar injuries of soft tissue-to-bone interfaces."

The grant is from NIH's National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

Dr. John M. Maher, Marshall's vice president for research and the interim director of MIIR, extended his congratulations to Xie, saying, "This grant is quite an accomplishment for Dr. Xie and MIIR. His research in this area is showing great promise to improve human health and to produce patentable technologies. A collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to translational research is the foundation of the success of this program and the participation of MIIR, the Center for Diagnostic Nanosystems at the School of Pharmacy, and the School of Medicine was key to securing this funding."

Xie has more than 10 years research experience in regenerative medicine, tissue engineering, biomaterials, nanotechnology and micro-/nanofabrication, and has developed a number of projects related to biomedical applications, including neural tissue engineering, tendon-to-bone insertion site repair and drug delivery. He joined MIIR in January 2011. He and the other scientists at the institute are developing a focused program of biotechnology research dedicated to producing patentable scientific breakthroughs and creating new businesses based on those discoveries. In keeping with the institute's goal to be self-sustaining, Xie is funded entirely through external sources. He is the co-inventor on five patents and has co-authored more than 40 peer-reviewed journal articles.


Contact: Ginny Painter
Marshall University Research Corporation

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