Within the Department of Bioengineering and Centre for Blast Injuries Studies at Imperial College, Niall has been using bespoke shock tube equipment to recreate the blast wave, while human dermal cell populations have been selected a cellular model for inappropriate ossification. Dermal papilla fibroblasts are an interesting cell choice to model the ossification observed in HO, as they are a cell that is not osteogenic in nature, but can inappropriately differentiate into bone under specific conditions . Friedlander shock waves at a range of pressures can be propagated over live cell cultures and the resultant effects analysed. Niall is particularly interested in the epigenetic changes triggered by shock wave exposure and will complete next generation sequencing to decipher why dermal papilla cells, but not other cell types respond to shockwave induced injury.
This project started in October 2015, and is funded by a New Investigator Research Grant from the Medical Research Council. Dr Niall Logan is the PDRA working on this project, and his goal is to identify and understand the mechanisms behind blast wave induced heterotopic ossification (HO). HO is the inappropriate formation of ectopic bone in non-osseous tissue such as the muscle. Incidence after traumatic and combat related injuries has been reported to be as high as 63%, with the blast mechanism of injury highlighted as one of the primary risk factors for ectopic bone . Methods of prophylaxis are still largely ineffective and result in the need for surgical excision of symptomatic lesions. Identification of the mechanisms that trigger blast induced ectopic bone formation could potentially lead to alternative and more effective methods of treatment.
1. Potter, B.K., et al., Heterotopic Ossification Following Traumatic and Combat-Related Amputations. Prevalence, Risk Factors, and Preliminary Results of Excision, 2007. 89(3): p. 476-486.
2. Richardson, G.D., et al., Cultured Cells from the Adult Human Hair Follicle Dermis can be Directed Toward Adipogenic and Osteogenic Differentiation. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 2005. 124(5): p. 1090-1091.