September 16, 2019 | 62° F

Rutgers professor's research could revolutionize process of human healing

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A professor in the Department of post-injury treatment is conducting research on healing mechanisms. Her work could that could potentially lead to breakthroughs in the way the body regenerates after injuries.

A Rutgers professor is making strides in research that could help everyone from astronauts to the average person heal from injuries faster and stay healthier.

Ronke Olabisi, a professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, has been conducting her research for months now and is expected to make important breakthroughs that could expedite the healing process of wounds caused by injury.

While earning her degree in aeronautical engineering, she discovered that one of the most magical creations was the human body, according to an article in Essence Magazine.

“People don’t think about wound healing when they don’t have a problem," she said. "It becomes important to you when it is relevant to you."

The research that is being conducted in the lab is based on cell therapy and healing wounds faster in diabetics, Olabisi said.

The research involves tissue engineering and regenerative medicine to repair or rebuild tissues for treating defects due to injury, disease, aging or spaceflight, according to the Olabisi Lab’s website.

“I originally began with an interest in astronomics but I fell in love with bones after one of my professors assigned an assignment for a hip replacement in college,” Olabisi said.

The research project is currently awaiting patenting, and as a result, there is a limited amount of information available to the public at this time, she said.

“I developed a similar technology for fracture healing and thought it would work better in wound healing,” Olabisi said.

They first began the patent process in December after lab results warranted the license, she said.

To receive funding for the research, she is contacting private biotech groups and organizations like the National Institute for Health (NIH), who give grants for research projects, Olabisi said.

The money that is funded to research projects is distributed to the graduate students involved, which helps to financially support their schooling as well as the expensive biological technology necessary, she said. This makes research projects very expensive and funding very important.

This research will contribute to healing wounds faster for populations whose wounds do not heal, Olabisi said.

“If there is truly no scar formation, it could revolutionize plastic surgery and serve as a treatment for people who keloid,” she said.

Keloiding occurs when wounds do not heal properly, leading excess tissue to form over the affected area, Olabisi said.

Biomedical research can benefit the University because a percentage of the funding received for research is granted to unrelated departments, such as humanities, she said.

Graduate students receive tuition for their education by participating in the research lab, so the more money that is funded for the project, the more graduate students the lab is able to hire, Olabisi said.

“Healing is universal but it becomes more important when you are face to face with scarring or loved ones' face scars,” she said.

Although the grants and the awards for the research go under the name of the professor who developed the idea, the graduate students involved benefit in experience and paid graduate tuition, Olabisi said.

“If they have a loved one who has diabetes, or mobility impaired, or needs reconstructive surgery, or develops keloids or is elderly, all of these populations have impaired healing,” she said. “But if the therapy eliminates scar formation, the surgeons would not need to hide the incisions as they do now.”

Brielle Diskin is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore. She is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum.

Brielle Diskin

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