Regenerative Medicine

About our Program

Regenerative Medicine is a medical approach that seeks to restore both structure and function of tissues lost to injury, disease, or congenital defects.

Researchers at our Blacksburg and Leesburg facilities are conducting regenerative medicine research on topics ranging from blood vessels to tendon, ligament, and cartilage healing to traumatic brain injuries, and turning promising ideas into innovative treatments for a variety of conditions.

Dr. Jennifer Barrett
Dr. Jennifer Barrett, director of the Regenerative Medicine Service, gives a horse an ultrasound-guided tendon injection.

From Laboratory to Clinic

Our Equine Medical Center's Regenerative Medicine Service takes laboratory findings into the clinic where regenerative therapies promote healing in both horses and dogs.

The center is using a wide range of techniques such as extracting stem cells from bone marrow to regrow tissue, injecting concentrated levels of platelets from a patient’s blood to start the healing process, and performing surgery to stimulate the body’s own ability to regenerate.

Learn more about how regenerative medicine at our Equine Medical Center is helping horses and dogs.

PhD student Thomas Brickler
IGEP student Thomas Brickler (right) received an Outstanding PhD Student Poster award at the college's 2015 Research Symposium.

Interdisciplinary Graduate Education

Our Regenerative Medicine Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Program (IGEP) at Virginia Tech provides students the opportunity to conduct specialized research in stem cell biology, biomaterials, modeling and experimental design, business and public policy, or science studies as related to regenerative medicine.

Our program trains scholars in the pursuit of translational research that will have a maximal impact on human and veterinary patient care and disease management.

Learn more about the Regenerative Medicine IGEP.

Dr. Michelle Theus
Dr. Michelle Theus investigates stem cells in the nervous system and their role in tissue homeostasis, injury repair, and aging.

Stem Cell Initiative

Our Stem Cell Initiative is an interdisciplinary program bringing researchers and clinicians together to explore potential benefits of stem cell research and therapies in both animal and human health. The goals of the initiative are to:

  • Facilitate collaboration among faculty and graduate students interested in stem cell biology
  • Understand the basic biological properties of stem cells in tissue homeostasis, their significance in cancer progression and treatment, and their role in tissue regeneration
  • Examine the potential role of stem cells in curative therapies for nervous system injuries, blood and musculoskeletal disorders, cancer, heart disease and diabetes
  • Investigate the impact of stem cells on iPS technology, tissue engineering, and nanotechnology

Center for Regenerative Medicine

Our college entered into a research agreement with the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in 2011 to form the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest Center for Veterinary Regenerative Medicine (CVRM).

Through the center, we are engaged in ongoing collaborations in translational regenerative medicine research to facilitate the application of cutting-edge treatments in both animal and human patients.

Faculty Research Team

Jennifer Barrett

Jennifer G. Barrett, DVM, PhD
Theodora Ayer Randolph Professor of Equine Surgery
Research focus: Tendon, ligament, and cartilage healing, stem cell and platelet rich plasma therapies, and tissue regeneration.

Linda Dahlgren

Linda Dahlgren, DVM, PhD
Associate Professor of Large Animal Surgery
Research focus: Mesenchymal stem cells and tissue engineering in tendon/wound biology and healing.

Jia-Qiang He

Jia-Qiang He, PhD
Assistant Professor of Stem Cell Physiology
Research focus: Controlled cardiac lineage differentiation of embryonic stem cells, iPSCs & adult cardiac stem cells; iPSC reprograming and characterization; Electrophysiological and functional maturity of stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes.

Bill Huckle

Bill Huckle, PhD
Associate Professor of Cell Biology &Pharmacology
Research focus: Angiogenesis and vasculogenesis in tumors and vascular diseases using murine models.

Michelle Theus

Michelle Theus, PhD
Assistant Professor of Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology
Research focus: Stem cell therapies for adult central nervous system repair following traumatic injury.

Learn more about the Theus laboratory.