"Providing tissue engineering technologies to restore the shattered lives of Wounded Warriors and civilians with traumatic musculoskeletal injuries."
George Joseph Christ,Ph.D.
Dr. Christ develops basic and translational tissue engineering and regenerative medicine approaches to organ and tissue repair, reconstruction and replacement, with a focus on the musculoskeletal system, vasculature and lower urinary tract. Dr. Christ is an internationally recognized expert in muscle physiology. He is the Past Chairman of the Division of Systems and Integrative Pharmacology of the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET), and Past President of the North Carolina Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine (NCTERM) group. He was inducted into AIMBE in 2017. He currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Division for Integrative Systems, Translational and Clinical Pharmacology of ASPET. He is also on the Editorial Board of five journals and is an ad-hoc reviewer for 2 dozen others.
Dr. Christ has authored more than 215 scientific publications and is co-editor of a book on integrative smooth muscle physiology and another on regenerative pharmacology. Dr. Christ has served on both national and international committees related to his expertise in muscle physiology, and on NIH study sections in the NIDDK, NICHD, NCRR, NAIAD, and NHLBI. He has chaired working groups for both the NIH and the World Health Organization.
Dr. Christ is a co-inventor on more than 26 patents (national and international) that are either issued or pending, related to gene therapy for the treatment of human smooth muscle disorders and tissue engineering technologies. Dr. Christ has also been the driving scientific force behind the preclinical studies and IND approvals supporting three Phase I clinical trials for gene therapy for benign human smooth muscle disorders. This technology has been evaluated in 55 patients in the US and 21 overseas. He is also spearheading the multi-institutional development of a tissue engineered muscle repair (TEMR) technology platform for the treatment of Wounded Warriors. An IND submission for a 5 patient first-in-man pilot study is anticipated in 2017 to further develop this technology platform for treatment of cleft lip. That study is funded by DOD and will be conducted at UT-Houston. Another 5 patient pilot study has also been funded by DOD to evaluate a proprietary hydrogel for the treatment of lower extremity volumetric muscle loss injuries to the tibialis anterior muscle at UVA. An IDE application for that indication is also anticipated in 2017 in collaboration with Keranetics LLC (W-S, NC).
Commonwealth Professor of Engineering2023
Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute Breakout Award2019
American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering College of Fellows2017
Imagine if muscle stem cells could be harvested from the patient, cultured, and then 3-D printed onto a biocompatible substrate, where they would be stretched and exercised to grow and mature to produce a foldable tissue patch that would then be implanted at the muscle wound site.
We are on the frontier of developing regenerative medicine therapeutics and tissue-engineering implants for our wounded warriors. However, the groundbreaking innovations at the heart of the bio-economy require long-term, sustained funding support.
A tissue engineered muscle repair (TE-MR) construct for functional restoration of an irrecoverable muscle injury in a murine model. Tissue Eng Part A 2011 Machingal MA, Corona BT, Walters TJ, Kesireddy V, Koval CN, Dannahower A, Zhao W, Yoo J and Christ GJ
The Pharmacology of Regenerative Medicine. Pharmacol Rev. 2013 Jul 1;65(3):1091-133. doi: 10.1124/pr.112.007393. Print 2013. PMID: 23818131 [PubMed - in process]. Christ GJ, Saul JM, Furth ME, Andersson KE
Oxygen generating biomaterials preserve skeletal muscle homeostasis under hypoxic and ischemic conditions. PloS One (Accepted), 2013. Ward C, Corona B, Harrison B, Yoo JL and Christ GJ
Implantation of in vitro tissue engineered muscle repair (TEMR) constructs and bladder acellular matrices (BAM) partially restore in vivo skeletal muscle function in a rat model of volumetric muscle loss (VML) injury. Tissue Eng Part A. 2013 Sep 25. Corona BT, Ward CL, Baker HB, Walters TJ, Christ GJ.
Diaphragmatic muscle reconstruction with an aligned electrospun poly(ε-caprolactone)/collagen hybrid scaffold. Biomaterials. 2013 Nov;34(33):8235-40. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2013.07.057. Epub 2013 Aug 6. Zhao W, Ju YM, Christ G, Atala A, Yoo JJ, Lee SJ.
Age-Dependent Changes Cooperatively Impact Skeletal Muscle Regeneration after Compartment Syndrome Injury. Am J Pathol. 2014 Jun 5. pii: S0002-9440(14)00265-X. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2014.03.018. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24909508. ABSZhou Y, Lovell D, Bethea M, Wang Z, Christ GJ, Soker S, Criswell T.
The potential utility of non-invasive imaging to monitor restoration of bladder structure and function following subtotal cystectomy (STC). BMC Urol. 2015 Oct 14;15:103. doi: 10.1186/s12894-015-0094-6 Burmeister, D., et al., and Christ, GJ
Applications of In vivo functional testing of the rat tibialis anterior for evaluating tissue engineered skeletal muscle repair. J Vis Exp. 2016 Oct 7;(116). doi: 0.3791/54487. PMID: 27768064 Mintz, E., Passipieri, J.A., Lovell, D.Y., Christ, G.J.
Keratin hydrogel enhances in vivo skeletal muscle function in a rat model of volumetric muscle loss. Tissue Eng Part A. 2017 Feb 7. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEA.2016.0458. [Epub ahead of print] PMID:281620534. Passipieri JA, Baker HB, Siriwardane M, Ellenburg M, Vadhavkar M, Saul JM, Tomblyn S, Burnett L, Christ GJ.
Cell and Growth Factor Loaded Keratin Hydrogels for Treatment of Volumetric Muscle Loss (VML) in a Mouse Model. Tissue Eng Part A. 2017 Feb 4. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEA.2016.0457. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 28162053 Baker HB, Passipieri JA, Siriwardane M, Ellenburg M, Vadhavkar M, Bergman CR, Saul JM, Tomblyn S, Burnett L, Christ GJ.
In Silico and In Vivo Experiments Reveal M-CSF Injections Accelerate Regeneration Following Muscle Laceration. Ann Biomed Eng. 2017 Mar;45(3):747-760. doi: 10.1007/s10439-016-1707-2. Epub 2016 Oct 7. PMID: Martin KS, Kegelman CD, Virgilio KM, Passipieri JA, Christ GJ, Blemker SS, Peirce SM.
The Laboratory of Regenerative Therapeutics at the University of Virginia is an interdisciplinary, translational research enterprise. Our mission is to leverage Cross Grounds collaborations to develop novel and more efficacious regenerative medicine/tissue engineering technologies for unmet medical needs. Our collaborative team has expertise ranging from the genetic to the molecular, cellular, tissue and organs levels, including development of biologically relevant preclinical animal models and experience with IND submission for gene transfer and tissue engineering technologies. While we have broad interest and experience in striated and smooth muscle physiology and pharmacology, our major current focus is on musculoskeletal tissue engineering and regeneration. In particular, we are developing a technology platform for the treatment of volumetric muscle loss (VML) injuries. We also endeavor to develop new biomaterials for enhanced muscle regeneration and neural innervation. Our translational research efforts are enhanced by our close integration/interaction with clinicians, most notably, the Dept. of Orthopaedic Surgery.