Karen Christman

The Christman lab develops biomaterials for regenerative medicine, focusing on the prevention of heart failure following heart attacks. They develop both injectable materials, which allow minimally invasive therapy, and coatings for in vitro differentiation of stem cells.

The Christman group was the first to explore heart extracellular matrix as a material to direct regeneration of heart muscle; they’ve recently translated this work to a large animal model, suggesting that its development for the clinic is imminent. In order to examine the mechanism by which materials influence migration and differentiation in the post-ischemic heart, they’re also working with engineered materials. Further, they’ve expanded their repertoire to materials that could treat peripheral artery disease and repair soft tissue injuries.

To maximize the effectiveness of injected biomaterials, the lab is also working on incorporating cues that promote the recruitment of cells that can differentiate into heart muscle and that induce vascularization. In order to control the rate of release of these cues, they’re taking a nanomedicine approach—encapsulating them in microparticles, which could lead to a separate therapeutic technology.

Injectable hydrogel (left) and its precursor material (right), flakes of pericardium decellularized using detergent.
Injectable hydrogel (left) and its precursor material (right), flakes of pericardium decellularized using detergent.


Key Publications

Sonnenberg SB, Rane AA, Liu CJ, Rao N, Agmon G, Suarez S, Wang R, Munoz A, Bajaj V, Zhang S, Braden R, Schup-Magoffin PJ, Kwan OL, DeMaria AN, Cochran JR, Christman KL. Delivery of an engineered HGF fragment in an extracellular matrix-derived hydrogel prevents negative LV remodeling post-myocardial infarction. Biomaterials. 2015 Mar;45:56-63.

Seif-Naraghi SB, Singelyn JM, Salvatore MA, Osborn KG, Wang JJ, Sampat U, Kwan OL, Strachan GM, Wong J, Schup-Magoffin PJ, Braden RL, Bartels K, Dequach JA, Preul M, Kinsey AM, Demaria AN, Dib N, Christman KL. Safety and efficacy of an injectable extracellular matrix hydrogel for treating myocardial infarction. Sci Transl Med 2013 (5) 173: 173ra25.

Singelyn JM, Sundaramurthy P, Johnson TD, Schup-Magoffin PJ, Hu DP, Faulk DM, Wang J, Mayle KM, Bartels K, Salvatore M, Kinsey AM, DeMaria AN, Dib N, Christman KL. Catheter-deliverable hydrogel derived from decellularized ventricular extracellular matrix increases endogenous cardiomyocytes and preserves cardiac function post-myocardial infarction. Journal of the American College of Cardiology 2012; 57:2017.

Full list of publications on PubMed