Center Steering Committee member Lakiesha Williams, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, recently received a prestigious R01 grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke. This $1.7M award will support her work, along with co-investigators Dr. Erika Moore in Materials Science and Engineering and Dr. Justin Hilliard in Neurosurgery, comparing the effectiveness of commercially available, naturally-derived dural grafts and acellular xenogeneic dural grafts developed in the Tissue Mechanics, Microstructure, and Modeling Laboratory (TM3) Lab.
Cranial trauma, tumor invasion, cerebrovascular disease, and brain surgeries can all cause defects to the dura mater, the tough outer membrane enveloping the brain and spinal cord. These issues may even lead to life-threatening complications. While dural graft materials are commercially available, there exists a gap in knowledge regarding the biologic risk factors that lead to failure of these grafts. Dr. Williams’s innovative study will compare commercially available cranial dural grafts with grafts developed by her team and assess structural support, rejection parameters, and overall sustained health of the grafts. The translational impact of this research will move us closer toward establishing a gold standard for cranial dura replacements and eventually lead to more appropriate graft selection for patients and reduced operative morbidity and mortality following cranial procedures.
Congratulations, Dr. Williams!