Dino Ravnic, DO, MPH, MSc
Division of Plastic Surgery
The Plastic Surgery Research Laboratory at Penn State is directed by Dr. Dino Ravnic and managed by Dr. Srinivas Koduru.
The laboratory's primary research effort is toward the creation of autologous vascularized engineered tissue that is suitable for microsurgical implantation and immediate reperfusion. Composite tissue defects are a common manifestation after tumor resection or traumatic injury. Reconstructive microsurgery involves the transfer of autologous tissue (free-flap) for correction of these injuries. However, flap harvest may not be an option in all individuals and can be associated with significant donor-site morbidity. Tissue engineering is the practice of combining cells, scaffolds and biologically active molecules to create functional tissue. The lab attempts to optimize these factors to craft bioengineered vascularized tissue that is patient-specific.
Adipose tissue has long been thought to be nothing more than an energy reservoir. However, it is rich in mesenchymal stem cells and endothelial cells which can serve as the cellular starting material for tissue engineering approaches. The lab has been successful in differentiating adipose derived stem cells (ADSCs) into multiple cell lines and recombining them in vitro with endothelial cells derived from the same adipose fraction. When cultured in three-dimension (3D) this cellular composition allows for adjacent microvasculature development. Furthermore, the isolation of various proteins and molecules from adipose tissue can be used in scaffold fabrication. The lab believes that the complete "deconstruction" of adipose tissue can provide most of the elements used in tissue "reconstruction."
To achieve its goals, the lab collaborates with experts in materials science for scaffold fabrication, biomedical engineers for 3D bioprinting assembly of cells/scaffolds/proteins and vascular biologists for optimization of microvascular development, integration and function.
This cross-collaborative environment has led to additional projects in tissue repair (e.g. hernia, bone) and the investigation of small RNAs for both clinical implementation and integration into tissue engineering approaches.
- Stem Cells
- Electron Scanning Microscopy
- Intravital Microscopy