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October 20 - 21, 2023 | Minneapolis Hilton

Bill Murphy, MS, PhD
Harvey D. Spangler Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Professor of Orthopedics & Rehabilitation, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Biominerals for Therapeutic Delivery to the Injured Spinal Cord

Control over delivery of biomacromolecules (e.g. proteins, DNA, mRNA) is a common theme in natural tissue formation, and also a common theme in emerging biomedical therapies. However, biomacromolecules are often highly unstable, and can rapidly lose their activity due to denaturation, degradation, aggregation, or cell internalization. Indeed, many important proteins in biological processes have half-lives on the order of minutes to hours. In contrast, biomacromolecules embedded in mineralized fossils can remain intact and stable for centuries. We have developed a series of biomineral-based materials that mimic the unique ability of natural fossils to stabilize biomacromolecules. The materials were also designed to dissolve and release their contents over controllable timeframes. In particular, we have synthesized a series of biomineral coatings to deliver genes, proteins, and stem cells from medical devices. Stabilization occurred even in extreme environments, such as in the presence of organic solvents, lyophilization, or high protease activity. Biomineral coatings can be formed on a variety of devices, ranging from 3-D printed scaffolds to injectable microparticles. Coatings were independently optimized for intended biologic delivery without influencing bulk properties of the underlying device. This “modular” approach resulted in devices with optimized properties from the macroscopic scale to the
molecular scale. Recent studies have developed coatings that optimize stabilization and delivery of therapeutic mRNA. This presentation will focus on therapeutic delivery of proteins and mRNA to reduce inflammation and promote healing in the injured spinal cord. 

Bill Murphy is the Harvey D. Spangler Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Professor of Orthopedics & Rehabilitation at the University of Wisconsin. His research group has developed new classes of biomimetic materials inspired by nature. They have used their materials to create new medical devices, human cells, and human tissues. He has over 200 publications, filed over 60 patents and co-founded 4 start-up companies based on those inventions. He also serves as Founding Director of the Forward BIO Institute, which catalyzes innovation in research, entrepreneurship and training, and pushes groundbreaking technologies out of academia and into the private sector.