2013 Winner: Evaluation of the Effect of Age on the Function of Fibroblasts through a Wound-healing Assay

Project Information
Evaluation of the Effect of Age on the Function of Fibroblasts through a Wound-healing Assay
Engineering
BME 195
Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are derived from somatic cells through forced reprogramming and are capable of differentiating back into any of the cell types comprising the mammalian body. Due to a striking functional similarity between iPSCs and embryonic stem cells (ESCs), it is thought that iPSCs could be used as an alternative to ESCs in regenerative medicine. Although there are clear similarities between iPSCs and ESCs, unexplained transcriptional differences between the two cell types exist. A potential explanation for these differences could be age-related modifications to the cells that residually persist through the reprogramming process back to iPSCs. An answer to age’s affect on cellular functionality is significant to the potential of iPSCs in regenerative medicine, because it would indicate whether there is a difference in functionality of iPSCs derived from somatic cells acquired from an old individual versus a younger individual. To investigate the effects of age on the functionality of cells and whether any functional differences persist through the programming process, we are developing an in vitro model for assaying cell migration. This model is capable of quantifying the rate of migration of cells in culture. Through the evaluation of variance of migration rates between fibroblast ages, we could predict a difference in functionality. This determination of the functional characteristics of fibroblasts derived from young and old individuals by a wound-healing model would suggest if a difference in the functionality of iPSCs exist as a result of age. This information on the functional affects of age on cells would give valuable insight into the potential use of iPSCs in regenerative medicine.
Students
  • Margaret Donovan (Nine)
Mentors