Purmessur Spinal Therapeutics Laboratory
Spinal Therapeutics Laboratory
The Spinal Therapeutics Laboratory (STL) is a Biomedical Engineering research group at The Ohio State University led by Dr. Devina Purmessur that specializes in studying low back pain (LBP). We focus on understanding the biochemical, biomechanical, and cellular mechanisms underlying pathophysiology in discogenic back pain with translation from 2D to 3D and in vivo models.
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Purmessur-Walter's CAREER award funds outreach for preschool children
Higuita-Castro and Purmessur awarded a new $2.5M RO1 grant from NIH
Purmessur earns NSF CAREER award for back pain research
Nina Tang awarded 2022 Presidential Fellowship
Low Back Pain
Chronic low back pain (LBP) is one of the leading musculoskeletal disorders associated with years lived with disability and generates annual healthcare costs over $100 billion in the US alone. According to the National Institute of Health(NIH), the magnitude of burden from LBP has grown worse in recent years. In 1990, a study ranking the most burdensome conditions in the U.S. in terms of mortality or poor health as a result of disease put LBP in sixth place; in 2010, LBP jumped to third place with only ischemic heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease ranking higher.
Intervertebral Disc Degeneration
Lumbar intervertebral discs (IVD) have been implicated in the pathogenesis of LBP. The onset of IVD degeneration can be caused by genetic precursors, acute injury, occupational factors, or simply age. Painful disc disease is characterized by a loss of structural integrity and function, a decrease in cellularity, and high levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines. However, current treatment strategies are highly invasive with poor surgical outcomes and fail to target the underlying disease pathology and aberrant cell biology.
Spinal Therapeutics Lab Research
STL strives to further IVD research in order to develop diagnostic tools and minimally invasive treatments of IVD degeneration. The identification of disc degeneration and pain biomarkers is crucial for the diagnosis of LBP source. Minimally invasive treatments allow better patient outcomes through faster recovery, shorter hospitalization periods and most importantly reduced damage to adjoining tissue.
Investigation is done through the development of in vitro 2D and 3D models that allow the control of the biochemical, mechanical and matrix microenvironment. These models help the testing of established hypotheses and lead to the development of new questions that fuel research.
Stem cell therapy and engineered Intervertebral Discs have been proposed to treat IVD degeneration. However, there are caveats with such techniques. Pro-anabolic approaches have been proposed such as viral gene editing, however, viral transfections can cause mutagenesis and immune rejection. Our work
used novel nanotechnology and engineered vesicles to deliver "healthy" factors into diseased intervertebral disc cells on the cellular and tissue level to reprogram disease cells back to a native phenotype both ex vivo and in vivo.
Intervertebral disc degeneration (IVD) is mediated in part by increases in pro-inflammatory cytokines and infiltration of immune cells. The chronic presence of these cells in the IVD perpetuates a cycle of catabolic activity, driving extracellular matrix degradation, angiogenesis and neoinnervation. Furthermore, these functional changes in the disc environment have been implicated as a driving source of neuronal plasticity and discogenic back pain. Elucidating the role of immune cells in the disc is vital to therapeutically target degeneration and neuropathic pain due to pathophysiological changes within the disc.
Cartilage Endplate Calcification
The intervertebral disc is the largest avascular structure in the human body and relies primarily on diffusion of nutrients and waste across the cartilage endplate to remain viable. The health of the cartilage endplate is vital in this, as disc degeneration is highly associated with occlusion of the cartilage endplate; this hinders nutrient and waste transport, which can propagate degenerative changes in the disc and can reduce the effectiveness of therapies that heal or regenerate disc tissue. The mechanisms by which this occurs are still being explored; one major mechanism is calcification of the endplate. In our lab, we are exploring what factors contribute to endplate calcification and its association with endplate cell phenotype. We currently use cell cultures to elucidate biological pathways involved in endplate calcification and aim to validate these pathways using transgenic in vivo models. We utilize histological staining, gene and protein expression assays, and are exploring the use of imaging and analytical compositional techniques to study these phenomena
Tang S, Gant, C; Salazar Puerta A, Bodine L, Khan S, Higuita-Castro N & Purmessur D. Non-viral Overexpression of Scleraxis or Mohawk Drives Reprogramming of Degenerate Human Annulus Fibrosus Cells from a Diseased to a Healthy Phenotype. First published: 27 June 2023 https://doi.org/10.1002/jsp2.1270.
Tang Shirley N., Walter Benjamin A., Heimann Mary K., Gantt Connor C., Khan Safdar N., Kokiko-Cochran Olga N., Askwith Candice C., Purmessur D. In vivo Mouse Intervertebral Disc Degeneration Models and Their Utility as Translational Models of Clinical Discogenic Back Pain: A Comparative Review. Frontiers in Pain Research. 2022; Vol.3. doi: 10.3389/fpain.2022.894651
Tang SN, Bonilla AF, Chahine NO, Colbath AC, Easley JT, Grad S, Haglund L, Le Maitre CL, Leung V, McCoy AM, Purmessur D, Tang SY, Zeiter S, Smith LJ. Controversies in spine research: Organ culture versus in vivo models for studies of the intervertebral disc.JOR Spine. 2022 Nov 28;5(4):e1235. doi: 10.1002/jsp2.1235. eCollection 2022 Dec.PMID: 36601369 Free PMC article. Review.
Krull CM, Rife J, Klamer B, Purmessur D, Walter BA.
Pericellular heparan sulfate proteoglycans: Role in regulating the biosynthetic response of nucleus pulposus cells to osmotic loading.JOR Spine. 2022 Jun 3;5(2):e1209. doi: 10.1002/jsp2.1209. eCollection 2022 Jun.PMID: 35783912 Free PMC article.
Bowlby CM, Purmessur D, Durgam SS. Equine peripheral blood CD14+ monocyte-derived macrophage in-vitro characteristics after GM-CSF pretreatment and LPS+IFN-γ or IL-4+IL-10 differentiation.Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2023 Jan;255:110534. doi: 10.1016/j.vetimm.2022.110534. Epub 2022 Dec 7.PMID: 36502640
Tang S, Salazar-Puerta A, Richards J, Khan S, Hoyland JA, Gallego-Perez D, Walter B, Higuita-Castro N, Purmessur D. Non-viral reprogramming of human nucleus pulposus cells with FOXF1 via extracellular vesicle delivery: an in vitro and in vivo study. Eur Cell Mater. 2021 Jan 19;41:90-107. doi: 10.22203/eCM.v041a07. PMID: 33465243; PMCID: PMC8514169.
Gantenbein B, Tang S, Guerrero J, Higuita-Castro N, Salazar-Puerta AI, Croft AS, Gazdhar A, Purmessur D. Non-viral Gene Delivery Methods for Bone and Joints. Front Bioeng Biotechnol. 2020 Nov 19;8:598466. doi: 10.3389/fbioe.2020.598466. PMID: 33330428; PMCID: PMC7711090.
Lakstins K, Arnold L, Gunsch G, Khan S, Moore S, Purmessur D. Characterization of bovine and canine animal model cartilage endplates and comparison to human cartilage endplate structure, matrix composition, and cell phenotype. JOR Spine. 2020 Aug 12;3(4):e1116. doi: 10.1002/jsp2.1116. PMID: 33392453; PMCID: PMC7770203.
Lakstins K, Arnold L, Gunsch G, Flanigan D, Khan S, Gadde N, Jones B, Agarwal G, Purmessur D. Characterization of the human intervertebral disc cartilage endplate at the molecular, cell, and tissue levels. J Orthop Res. 2021 Sep;39(9):1898-1907. doi: 10.1002/jor.24854. Epub 2020 Sep 24. PMID: 32915471.
Lakstins K, Yeater T, Arnold L, Khan S, Hoyland JA, Purmessur D. Investigating the role of culture conditions on hypertrophic differentiation in human cartilage endplate cells. J Orthop Res. 2021 Jun;39(6):1204-1216. doi: 10.1002/jor.24692. Epub 2020 Apr 23. PMID: 32285966.
Tang S, Richards J, Khan S, Hoyland J, Gallego-Perez D, Higuita-Castro N, Walter B, Purmessur D. Nonviral Transfection With Brachyury Reprograms Human Intervertebral Disc Cells to a Pro-Anabolic Anti-Catabolic/Inflammatory Phenotype: A Proof of Concept Study. J Orthop Res. 2019 Nov;37(11):2389-2400. doi: 10.1002/jor.24408. Epub 2019 Jul 29. PMID: 31286562.
Richards J, Tang S, Gunsch G, Sul P, Wiet M, Flanigan DC, Khan SN, Moore S, Walter B, Purmessur D. Mast Cell/Proteinase Activated Receptor 2 (PAR2) Mediated Interactions in the Pathogenesis of Discogenic Back Pain. Front Cell Neurosci. 2019 Jul 5;13:294. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2019.00294. PMID: 31333416; PMCID: PMC6625229.
Kelly Thompson; Sarah Moore; Shirley Tang; Matthew Wiet; Devina Purmessur, 2018, "The chondrodystrophic dog: A clinically relevant intermediate‐sized animal model for the study of intervertebral disc‐associated spinal pain.", JOR Spine. Volume 1, Issue 1.
Martin JT, Gullbrand SE, Fields AJ, Purmessur D, Diwan AD, Oxland TR, Chiba K, Guilak F, Hoyland JA, Iatridis JC. Publication trends in spine research from 2007 to 2016: Comparison of the Orthopaedic Research Society Spine Section and the International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine. JOR Spine. 2018 Mar;1(1):e1006. doi: 10.1002/jsp2.1006. Epub 2018 Mar 23. PMID: 29770804; PMCID: PMC5944392.
Wiet MG; Piscioneri A; Khan SN; Ballinger MN; Hoyland JA; Purmessur D., 2017, "Mast Cell-Intervertebral disc cell interactions regulate inflammation, catabolism and angiogenesis in Discogenic Back Pain." Scientific Reports 7, no.12492.
Palacio-Mancheno, P. E.; Evashwick-Rogler, T. W.; Laudier, D. M.; Purmessur, D; and Iatridis, J. C. (2017), "Hyperosmolarity induces notochordal cell differentiation with aquaporin3 upregulation and reduced N-cadherin expression. "J. Orthop. Res.. doi:10.1002/jor.23715
William S. Marras; Benjamin A. Walter; Devina Purmessur; Prasath Mageswaran; Matthew G. Wiet; 2016, "The Contribution of Biomechanical-Biological Interactions of the Spine to Low Back Pain." Human Factors Vol 58, no. 7, 965-975
Alon Lai; Andrew Moon; Devina Purmessur; Branko Skovrlj; Damien M. Laudier; Beth A. Winkelstein; Samuel K. Cho; Andrew C. Hecht; James C. Iatridis; 2016, "Annular puncture with tumor necrosis factor-alpha injection enhances painful behavior with disc degeneration in vivo." The Spine Journal, Volume 16, no. 3, 2016, 420-431.
Walter BA, Purmessur D, Moon A, Occhiogrosso J, Laudier DM, Hecht AC, Iatridis JC. Reduced tissue osmolarity increases TRPV4 expression and pro-inflammatory cytokines in intervertebral disc cells. Eur Cell Mater. 2016 Jul 19;32:123-36. doi: 10.22203/ecm.v032a08. PMID: 27434269; PMCID: PMC5072776.
Alon, Lai; Andrew, Moon; Devina, Purmessur; Branko,Skovrlj; Damien M.Laudier; Beth A.Winkelstein; Samuel K.Cho; Andrew C.Hect; James C.Iatridis, 2015, "Annular puncture with tumor necrosis factor-alpha injection enhances painful behavior with disc degeneration in vivo.", The Spine Journal 16, no.3, 420-431.
Walter, Benjamin A.; Purmessur, Devina; Likhitpanichkul, Morakot; Weinberg, Alan; Cho, Samuel K.; Qureshi, Sheeraz A.; Hecht, Andrew C; Iatridis, James C. PhD, 2015, "Inflammatory Kinetics and Efficacy of Anti-inflammatory Treatments on Human Nucleus Pulposus Cells.", The Spine Journal 40, no.13, 955-963.
Cornejo,M,C; Cho,S,K; Giannarelli,C; Iatridis,J,C; Purmessur,D, 2015, "Soluble factors from the notochordal-rich intervertebral disc inhibit endothelial cell invasion and vessel formation in the presence and absence of pro-inflammatory cytokines."OSTEOARTHRITIS AND CARTILAGE 23, no. 3, 487 - 496.
Purmessur,Devina; Cornejo,Marisa,C; Cho,Samuel,K; Roughley,Peter,J; Linhardt,Robert,J; Hecht,Andrew,C; Iatridis,James,C,2015, "Intact glycosaminoglycans from intervertebral disc-derived notochordal cell-conditioned media inhibit neurite growth while maintaining neuronal cell viability." SPINE JOURNAL 15, no. 5, 1060 - 1069.
Lai,Alon; Moon,Andrew; Purmessur,Devina; Skovrlj,Branko; Winkelstein,Beth,A; Cho,Samuel,K; Hecht,Andrew,C; Iatridis,James,C, 2015, "Assessment of Functional and Behavioral Changes Sensitive to Painful Disc Degeneration."JOURNAL OF ORTHOPAEDIC RESEARCH 33, no. 5, 755 - 764.
Lu,Young; Guzman,Javier,Z; Purmessur,Devina; Iatridis,James,C; Hecht,Andrew,C; Qureshi,Sheeraz,A; Cho,Samuel,K, 2014, "Nonoperative Management of Discogenic Back Pain A Systematic Review." SPINE 39, no. 16, 1314 - 1324.
Illien-Jünger,Svenja; Lu,Young; Purmessur,Devina; Mayer,Jillian,E; Walter,Benjamin,A; Roughley,Peter,J; Qureshi,Sheeraz,A; Hecht,Andrew,C; Iatridis,James,C, 2014, "Detrimental effects of discectomy on intervertebral disc biology can be decelerated by growth factor treatment during surgery: a large animal organ culture model.." spine journal 14, no. 11, 2724 -2732.
Guterl,Clare,C; Torre,Olivia,M; Purmessur,Devina; Dave,Khyati; Likhitpanichkul,Morakot; Hecht,Andrew,C; Nicoll,Steven,B; Iatridis,James,C, 2014, "Characterization of Mechanics and Cytocompatibility of Fibrin-Genipin Annulus Fibrosus Sealant with the Addition of Cell Adhesion Molecules." TISSUE ENGINEERING PART A 20, no. 17-18, 2536 - 2545.
Illien-Juenger,Svenja; Lu,Young; Purmessur,Devina; Mayer,Jillian,E; Walter,Benjamin,A; Roughley,Peter,J; Qureshi,Sheeraz,A; Hecht,Andrew,C; Iatridis,James,C, 2014, "Detrimental effects of discectomy on intervertebral disc biology can be decelerated by growth factor treatment during surgery: a large animal organ culture model." SPINE JOURNAL 14, no. 11,2724 - 2732.
Purmessur,Devina; Guterl,Clare,C; Cho,Samuel,K; Cornejo,Marisa,C; Lam,Ying,W; Ballif,Bryan,A; Laudier,Damien,M; Iatridis,James,C, 2013, "Dynamic pressurization induces transition of notochordal cells to a mature phenotype while retaining production of important patterning ligands from development." ARTHRITIS RESEARCH & THERAPY 15, no. 5, R122
Abbott,Rosalyn,D; Purmessur,Devina; Monsey,Robert,D; Brigstock,David,R; Laudier,Damien,M; Iatridis,James,C, 2013, "Degenerative Grade Affects the Responses of Human Nucleus Pulposus Cells to Link-N, CTGF, and TGF beta 3." JOURNAL OF SPINAL DISORDERS & TECHNIQUES 26, no. 3, E86 - E94.
Purmessur,D; Walter,B,A; Roughley,P,J; Laudier,D,M; Hecht,A,C; Iatridis,James, 2013, "A role for TNF alpha in intervertebral disc degeneration: A non-recoverable catabolic shift." BIOCHEMICAL AND BIOPHYSICAL RESEARCH COMMUNICATIONS433, no. 1, 151 - 156.
Purmessur,D; Cornejo,M,C; Cho,S,K; Hecht,A,C; Iatridis,J,C, 2013, "Notochordal cell-derived therapeutic strategies for discogenic back pain.." Global spine journal 3, no. 3, 201 - 218.
Richardson,Stephen,M; Purmessur,Devina; Baird,Pauline; Probyn,Ben; Freemont,Anthony,J; Hoyland,Judith,A, 2012, "Degenerate Human Nucleus Pulposus Cells Promote Neurite Outgrowth in Neural Cells." PLOS ONE 7, no. 10, e47735 -
Abbott,Rosalyn,Delia; Purmessur,Devina; Monsey,Robert,Daniel; Iatridis,James,Christopher, 2012, "Regenerative potential of TGF beta 3 + Dex and notochordal cell conditioned media on degenerated human intervertebral disc cells." JOURNAL OF ORTHOPAEDIC RESEARCH 30, no. 3, 482 - 488.
Purmessur,Devina; Schek,Rachel,M; Abbott,Rosalyn,D; Ballif,Bryan,A; Godburn,Karolyn,E; Iatridis,James,C, 2011, "Notochordal conditioned media from tissue increases proteoglycan accumulation and promotes a healthy nucleus pulposus phenotype in human mesenchymal stem cells." ARTHRITIS RESEARCH & THERAPY 13, no. 3, R81 -
Walter,B,A; Korecki,C,L; Purmessur,D; Roughley,P,J; Michalek,A,J; Iatridis,J,C, 2011, "Complex loading affects intervertebral disc mechanics and biology." OSTEOARTHRITIS AND CARTILAGE 19, no. 8, 1011 - 1018.
Iatridis,James,C; Michalek,A,J; Purmessur,D; Korecki,C,L, 2009, "Localized Intervertebral Disc Injury Leads to Organ Level Changes in Structure, Cellularity, and Biosynthesis." CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR BIOENGINEERING 2, no. 3, 437 - 447.
Purmessur,Devina; Freemont,Anthony,J; Hoyland,Judith,A, 2008, "Expression and regulation of neurotrophins in the nondegenerate and degenerate human intervertebral disc." ARTHRITIS RESEARCH & THERAPY 10, no. 4, R99 -
Purmessur,D; Hoyland,J,A; Freemont,A,J, 2006, "Disc cell/neural cell interactions in the intervertebral disc (IVD) and their role in degeneration of the IVD." JOURNAL OF PATHOLOGY 210, 25 - 25.
Parker,S,M; Purmessur,D; Millward-Sadler,S,J; LeMaitre,C,L; Freemont,A,J; Hoyland,J,A, 2006, "The identification of large conductance potassium (MaxiK) channels in human intervertebral disc (IVD) cells." JOURNAL OF PATHOLOGY 210, 24 - 24.
Devina Purmessur, PhD
BS (Honors): Medical Biochemistry, University of Sheffield UK
MS (with Distinction): Immunology and Allergy, University of Nottingham UK
PhD: Molecular Pathology, University of Manchester UK
Postdoctoral training: Spine Bioengineering labs of Dr James Iatridis, University of Vermont and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai NYC, USA
My research training and diverse scientific background in musculoskeletal pathophysiology has provided me with a unique experimental skill set – combining cell, molecular and immune biology with biomedical engineering that enables me to investigate highly translational questions and mechanisms while grounded in fundamental basic science. I am currently an Early Stage Investigator/ New Investigator Assistant Professor (Tenure track) in the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Orthopaedics at the Ohio State University. I also work closely with my clinical collaborators, spine surgeon Dr. Safdar Khan and veterinary neurosurgeon, Dr. Sarah Moore. There exists an unmet clinical need where the clinicians do not have access to the necessary tools and non-addictive biologics to treat low back pain and regenerate the IVD. My long-term research interests lie in understanding the Intervertebral disc (IVD) joint as a whole organ system and how the IVD and surrounding inflammatory and tissue microenvironment influence the pathogenesis of discogenic back pain while simultaneously developing novel non-viral reprogramming and immunomodulatory non-additive biological strategies for back pain. My training with Drs. Hoyland and Freemont, at Manchester, Dr. Kinloch at Pfizer, (Pain therapeutics) and with Bioengineer Dr. Iatridis has provided me with a strong background and research training in IVD pathophysiology and developmental biology, regenerative strategies for the IVD and ex vivo and in vivo animal models that has provided a solid platform to launch my academic career. In addition to research, my long-term teaching goals involve providing our biomedical engineering students with the necessary knowledge and transferable skill sets to help them identify and solve complex real world problems that exist at the intersection of Engineering and Medicine. In the research lab this is focused on independent thinking and problem solving as well as creativity associated with developing and testing unique hypotheses. In the classroom, this is focused on objectives and related outcomes to assess the students ability to synthesis knowledge, identify problems and solve real world problems through in-class activities, assignments and case studies. Furthermore, through my service I have supported a diverse and inclusive learning environment at the University and Scientific community level. This has included by roles in Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program and Women in Engineering graduate council as well as providing professional development/educational and network opportunities at the National and International level through my roles as ORS Spine Section Membership Co-Chair and ORS New Investigator Committee member.
Kyle Kuchynsky - Ph.D Student
This is Kyle (that's me :D). I'm a 2019 alum of Ohio State, completing my Bachelor's in Biomedical Engineering. I was very interested in musculoskeletal biology in undergrad so I returned to complete a PhD, studying intervertebral disc biology. In particular, I'm interested in possible biological functions of cartilage endplate cells and factors that contribute to endplate degeneration and calcification. Outside of lab, I stay active by running; I also enjoy juggling, baking, and playing games on my Nintendo Switch.
Mary Heimann - Ph.D Student
Mary graduated from The Ohio State University with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering and is currently pursing her PhD in the BME program. Her research focuses on therapeutics that target the immune response to mitigate degeneration in the IVD and neuropathic pain. This project seeks to establish the canine as a pre-clinical translational model for IVD degeneration and discogenic back pain. Outside of the lab, her hobbies include yoga, reading, baking, traveling, and snuggling up with her kitties.
Angelina is a third-year Biomedical Science major, who is interested in exploring how cellular reprogramming using engineered extracellular vesicles can treat discogenic back pain. Previously, she worked in another Biomedical Engineering lab where she helped optimize a novel self-assembling peptide hydrogel using thiolene click chemistry reactions. Outside of research, she loves to try new foods, go to kickboxing classes, and travel. Post-graduation, Angelina hopes to attend medical school and continue working for Pelorus Health, a start-up company that focuses on pediatric diabetic disease management.
Dr. Shirley (Nina) Tang
Nina is currently a PhD Candiate and a Presidential Fellow. Her previous projects focus on cellular reprogramming of diseased intervertebral disc cells using extracellular vesicle delivery. In addition, she worked on developing novel models for studying disease pathologies and characterization of the neuronal phenotype. Outside of research, she was the President of the Graduate Society of Women Engineers (GRADSWE/WEGC) at OSU and enjoys committing time to giving back to her community. Her hobbies include tennis, karate, drawing, and casual walks. She hopes to continue a career in academia post graduation. Nina is currently in her post-doctoral fellowship with Dr. Farshid Giulak at the University of Washington St. Louis.
Lucy Mechanical Engineering student, expected to graduate May of 2024. She has worked with Nina to study the effects of non-viral reprogramming of degenerate nucleus pulposus via extracellular vesicle delivery. Outside of the lab, Lucy enjoys being physically active and is involved as a member of Alpha Gamma Delta and Society of Women Engineers.
Yuchen (William) Xie
Is a Chemistry major student minor in BME and Statistics. In academics, I love to learn new knowledge and technologies. William will be starting his PhD in BME at Cornell University. In his daily life, I am interested in food tasting, video games, and music.
is a graduate in biomedical engineering with an interest in gene therapy and tissue engineering. He previously co-authored an abstract for a Cleveland Clinic biomechanics study focused on post-traumatic osteoarthritis from ACL tears in a minipig model. Rakin was part of Ohio State's Powerlifting club and also enjoys playing and recording music with his electric guitar. His next step will be working with a large biotechnical company.
Connor graduated in the Spring of 2022. In the lab, He has composed a literature review on current annulus fibrosus cell culture techniques, specifically pertaining to the substrate that the cells are cultured on. He also conducted a study with Nina that is centered upon the non-viral transfection of degenerate annulus fibrosus cells to ultimately reprogram the cells into a healthy phenotype. Outside of the lab, Connor volunteered at The James Cancer Hospital and Garden of Hope, as well as worked as an independent provider for the Department of Developmental Disabilities. Connor also enjoys fishing and spending time outdoors. He is currently attending Medical school at Wright State University.
Lauren Collins - REU Summer Student from the University of Michigan
Kyle Rodulph - MS Student
Gilian Gunsch - Research Assistant
Gilian Gunsch was a Research Assistant at the Purmessur laboratory. She received her B.S in Biology from The Ohio State University in 2020. Gilian is interested in understanding the role of inflammation in IVDD and how this contributes to discogenic pain. Outside of the lab, Gilian enjoys running, reading, and listening to music. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D at OSU
Kiana Poole - SROP Summer Student from the University of North Texas
Dominique Banres- REU Summer Student from the University of Florida
Kelly Thompson - MS/DVM Student
Kelly Thompson was a combined Master of Science and DVM student at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. In the lab she studied the immune and inflammatory responses within the canine degenerate intervertebral disc. Outside of the lab, Kelly enjoys dancing, reading, attending concerts, and spending time with her rabbit. She is currently a Veterinarian at the My Vet Hospital.
Katie Lakstins - Ph.D Student
Katie received her undergraduate degree from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in 2016 and completed her PhD in 2020. Outside the lab she enjoys spending time with friends, being involved in the Biomedical Engineering Graduate School Association, doing crossfit, rock climbing, hiking, and hanging out with her two cats. She is currently a Medical Science Liason at Cerapedics
Justin Richards- Undergraduate Research Assistant
Justin Richards was a Biology major. He was interested in all things having to do with orthopedics, specifically as they pertain to physiology of the musculoskeletal system. On campus, He was involved as a member of Beta Theta Pi, and President of Ministry in Mission, organizing mission trips to Haiti for students on Ohio State's campus. He is currently in medical school.
Emma Wittmann -Undergradaute Research Assisstant
Emma Wittman was a Biomedical Engineering pre-medicine major, and graduated in May 2019. Emma studied the effects of L-Lactate on the intervertebral disc and the role it plays in disc degeneration. Outside of lab she enjoys volunteering at Grant Medical Center, playing on the Ohio State Club Softball team, and promoting fellow females through her sorority. She is currently in medical school.
Lauren Arnold - Undergraduate Research Assisstant
Lauren is a Biomedical Engineering major and Neuroscience minor at The Ohio State University. She worked with Katie to study the effect of the calcification of the cartilage end plate on the degeneration of the intervertebral disc. Outside of the lab, Lauren is a member of Phi Sigma Rho Sorority and H2O Church. She enjoys reading, hiking, exploring, and music. She is currently pursuing her PhD
Brian King - Undergraduate Research Assistant
Brian King graduated from OSU with a B.S in Biomedical Engineering and a minor in Neuroscience. His interest in neural regeneration and engineering drew him to this lab’s research into sensitivity and infiltration of neurons associated with lower back pain. He is currently an engineer at EPIC.
Pavel Sul - Lab Manager
Pavel graduated from The Ohio State University with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering and worked as a Research Assistant and Laboratory Manager of the Spinal Therapeutics Laboratory afterwards. In the lab he is focused on the development and validation of an intervertebral disc co-culture model. Outside of work Pavel enjoys hiking, snowboarding and traveling. He is now an engineer at MIPAR
Matt Wiet - MS Student
Matt was a graduate student in the Biomedical Engineering department focusing on the field of Molecular, Cell and Tissue Engineering. His responsibility in the lab was to characterize the interaction between immune cells and the intervertebral disc cells in order to better understand lower back pain and intervertebral disc degeneration. Outside of the lab he enjoys playing soccer with his wife, as both were/are professional soccer players, and his goal is to one day become a medical scientist as an orthopedic surgeon. He is currently a resident physician at Nationwide Children's Hospital
Tayler Yeater- Undergraduate Research Assistant
Taylor Yeater was a Biomedical Engineering major at The Ohio State University who graduated in May 2017. In the lab she studied the degenerate and healthy microenvironments of the intervertebral disc in relation to neurite outgrowth. Outside of the lab she was an officer for Society of Women Engineers, The Ohio State University chapter. She is currently pursuing her PhD at the University of Florida.
Andrew Piscioneri - Undergraduate Research Assistant
Andrew Piscioneri was a Biomedical Engineering major and Neuroscience minor at The Ohio State University who graduated in May 2017. Andrew studied the effects of the Intervertebral Disc microenvironement on metabolism and signaling in healthy and degenerative states. Outside of the lab, Andrew volunteered at The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and raised money for the University at The Ohio State Caller Center. He is now an engineer at Edwards Lifesciences in Irvine, California
Nathaniel Bates, PhD
Outreach and Involvement
- Are you an undergraduate student Interested in summer research? Visit Buckeye REU and SROP Programs to find out more!
- Are you a graduate student looking to be more involved in campus community building with women engineers? Visit Graduate Society of Women Engineers or contact Nina Tang (Tang.email@example.com) to find out more!
- Women Faculty in Biomedical Engineering