Honors & News
April 20, 2015
We’re never at a loss for toothpaste choices, but we may see the addition of
With Nanotechnology!advertised on the tubes in the future. Researchers from the University of Rochester, in the Benoit Lab, and University of Pennsylvania have designed drug-releasing nanoparticles to protect the teeth from bacterial damage and decay.
The particles are engineered with a positively-charged outer segment to bind to negatively-charged sites on plaque biofilms and tooth enamel, effectively anchoring the particles in place. The particles’ cores are hydrophobic and loaded with farnesol, a hydrophobic antibacterial drug. The cores release the drug more quickly in acidic environments – perfect for when cariogenic bacteria begin to take over the teeth and form biofilms, which can drop locally to pH of 4.5-5.5.
They showed that head-to-head in a topical application, the drug-loaded nanoparticles were four times more powerful in destroying the bugs (Streptococcus mutans, in this study) than the free drug alone. They attributed this fact to the ability of the nanoparticles to adhere and deliver the drug in a controlled-release fashion, targeting sites of bacterial growth (biofilms) to deliver higher concentrations locally. Additionally, laboratory models of teeth and decay showed that the particles were able to greatly reduce the mechanical stability of the biofilms, rendering them more brittle and breakable. In vivo trials showed reductions in both the number and severity of dental caries in rats treated twice daily with the farnesol-loaded nanoparticles. The free farnesol applications were less effective, and likely washed away in what we imagine to be copious amounts of rat saliva.
April 10, 2015
Researchers have created a way for nanoparticles to deliver an antibacterial agent directly to dental plaque, according to a new study. Their discovery could lead to better treatments for caries and other biofilm-related diseases.
Nanoparticles that deliver farnesol directly to cariogenic biofilm were created by researchers from multiple U.S. institutions. Farnesol is a naturally occurring antimicrobial agent that is effective against some caries-causing bacteria.
We had two specific challenges,stated senior study author Danielle Benoit, PhD, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Rochester, in a press release.
We had to figure out how to deliver the antibacterial agent to the teeth and keep it there, and also how to release the agent into the targeted sites.
April 2, 2015
Therapeutic agents intended to reduce dental plaque and prevent tooth decay are often removed by saliva and the act of swallowing before they can take effect. But a team of researchers has developed a way to keep the drugs from being washed away. Dental plaque is made up of bacteria enmeshed in a sticky matrix of polymers—a polymeric matrix—that is firmly attached to teeth. The researchers, led by Danielle Benoit at the University of Rochester and Hyun Koo at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Dental Medicine, found a new way to deliver an antibacterial agent within the plaque, despite the presence of saliva.
Their findings have been published in the journal ACS Nano.
We had two specific challenges,said Benoit, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering.
We had to figure out how to deliver the anti-bacterial agent to the teeth and keep it there, and also how to release the agent into the targeted sites.To deliver the agent-known as farnesol-to the targeted sites, the researchers created a spherical mass of particles, referred to as a nanoparticle carrier. They constructed the outer layer out of cationic-or positively charged-segments of the polymers. For inside the carrier, they secured the drug with hydrophobic and pH-responsive polymers.
Read more about this at Science Magazine.org.
March 26, 2015
The National Science Foundation has granted its most prestigious award in support of junior faculty, the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program, to three Rochester researchers: Antonio Badolato, assistant professor of physics; Danielle Benoit, the James P. Wilmot Distinguished Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering; and Michael Neidig, assistant professor of chemistry.
Benoit is being recognized for her work in regenerative medicine and drug delivery applications. Benoit also has appointments in chemical engineering and the Center for Musculoskeletal Research.
We are developing a completely novel and potent site-directed therapy to treat bone diseases, with a focus on osteoporosis,said Benoit.
It's an honor to have the National Science Foundation recognize and support our efforts.
The award from the NSF, which comes with a $500,000 grant over five years, will help Benoit develop educational outreach programs to excite children in grade school and high school about STEM careers. Much of Benoit's research involves regenerative strategies, including tissue engineering and drug delivery approaches, for musculoskeletal applications with a focus on bone.
February 13, 2015
Hoffman, Benoit Paper Published in Biomaterials
Graduate student, Michael Hoffman and the Benoit Lab have published a paper,
Emulating Native Periosteum Cell Population and Subsequent Paracrine Factor Production To Promote Tissue Engineered Periosteum-Mediated Allograft Healing, in the journal Biomaterials.
Emulating autograft healing within the context of decellularized bone allografts has immediate clinical applications in the treatment of critical-sized bone defects. The periosteum, a thin, osteogenic tissue that surrounds bone, houses a heterogeneous population of stem cells and osteoprogenitors. There is evidence that periosteum-cell derived paracrine factors, specifically vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2), orchestrate autograft healing through host cell recruitment and subsequent tissue elaboration. In previous work, we demonstrated that the use of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) hydrogels as a tissue engineered (T.E.) periosteum to localize mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to the surface of decellularized bone enhances allograft healing and integration. Herein, we utilize a mixed population of 50:50 MSCs and osteoprogenitor cells to better mimic native periosteum cell population and paracrine factor production to further promote allograft healing. This mixed cell population was localized to the surface of decellularized allografts within degradable hydrogels and shown to expedite allograft healing. Specifically, bone callus formation and biomechanical graft-host integration are increased as compared to unmodified allografts. These results demonstrate the dual importance of periosteum-mediated paracrine factors orchestrating host cell recruitment as well as new bone formation while developing clinically translatable strategies for allograft healing and integration.
February 11, 2015
Danielle Benoit has received an NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award for her proposal "Polymer therapeutics for bone regeneration: next-generation osteoporosis treatments."
Osteoporosis results from imbalances in bone production and resorption and affects roughly 14 million Americans. The majority of osteoporosis therapies reduce the activity of cells that resorb bone. Development of therapies targeted towards cells that produce new bone matrix may revolutionize osteoporosis therapies by offering an alternative to restore bone health, however, a critical technological gap exists in developing drug delivery approaches that provide specific treatment to bone. To overcome this challenge, Benoit's research seeks to develop drug delivery approaches to efficiently and specifically target anabolic drugs to bone to develop novel treatments for osteoporosis. Successful completion of this research will significantly advance therapeutic strategies for osteoporosis and the approaches developed will be readily adaptable to treat other bone diseases.
February 11, 2015
Jomy Varghese Receives Medical Faculty Council Travel Award in Basic Science Research
Benoit Lab graduate student, Jomy Varghese is a recipient of the Medical Faculty Council URSMD Trainee / Student Travel Award for Winter 2015 in Basic Science Research. The Medical Faculty Council is proud to be able to support his promising academic work by assisting with travel costs (up to a total of $1000) for his research presentation at a scientific conference. Congrats Jomy!
February 10, 2015
Benoit Lab Publishes Paper in Tissue Engineering
The Benoit Lab has published a new paper, entitled,
Development of poly(ethylene glycol) hydrogels for salivary gland tissue engineering applications, in the journal of Tissue Engineering, Part A.
February 9, 2015
Benoit Lab Publishes Article in ACS Nano
The Benoit Lab's article,
pH-activated Nanoparticles for Controlled Topical Delivery of Farnesol to Disrupt Oral Biofilm Virulencehas been published in ACS Nano. The authors of this work are Benjamin Horev, Marlise Klein, Geelsu Hwang, Yong Li, Dongyeop Kim, Hyun Koo, and Danielle Benoit.
January 12, 2015
Andrew Shubin Awarded Grant from National Cancer Institute
Andrew Shubin, a graduate student in Danielle Benoit's lab, was awarded an F30 grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for his project titled
Poly(ethylene glycol) Hydrogels for Salivary Gland Regeneration.
Radiation for head and neck cancers causes severe damage to salivary glands resulting in permanent dry mouth. This issue greatly affects the quality of life for cancer survivors, as proper saliva production is essential for eating, speaking, and oral hygiene. This project aims to develop at 3D tissue engineering scaffold utilizing poly(ethylene glycol) hydrogels in order to regenerate salivary gland tissue to help treat this condition.
- Emulating native periosteum cell population and subsequent paracrine factor production to promote tissue engineered periosteum-mediated allograft healing.Biomaterials. 52, 426-40. (2015 Jun 01).
- Second-harmonic generation scattering directionality predicts tumor cell motility in collagen gels.J Biomed Opt. 20, 051024. (2015 May 01).
- Development of Poly(Ethylene Glycol) Hydrogels for Salivary Gland Tissue Engineering Applications.Tissue Eng Part A. (2015 Apr 17).