Brianne Connizzo, Ph.D.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
“Novel Explant Culture Systems to Investigate Rotator Cuff Mechanobiology and Pathology”
Tendinopathy is a significant clinical problem thought to be associated with altered mechanical loading. Explant culture models allow researchers to alter mechanical loading in a controlled in vitro environment while maintaining tenocytes in their native matrix. However, current models do not accurately represent commonly injured tendons, ignoring contributions of associated musculature and bone, as well as regional collagen structure. This work details the characterization of a mouse rotator cuff explant culture model which includes tendon, muscle and bone co-cultured for the first time in stress-deprived conditions. This model presents an innovative approach to understanding rotator cuff tenocyte mechanobiology by maintaining load transfer mechanisms through the extracellular matrix as well as the interactions of tenocytes with cells from adjacent tissues. In the future, this model will be used to investigate how various mechanical and biological stimuli could alter normal tendon health and subsequently lead to tendon degeneration, as well as to identify and test various therapeutics.
Brianne Connizzo, Ph.D. is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under the mentorship of Dr. Alan Grodzinsky. Her postdoctoral research focuses on understanding the role of compressive mechanical loading in age-related degenerative tendinopathy of the rotator cuff. Prior to MIT, she received her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania mentored by Dr. Louis Soslowsky, where her work identified important regional structure-function relationships in tendons and other soft collagenous tissues.