Join us in welcoming Jenny Robinson, PhD, to the Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine as the endowed chair in Women's Sports Medicine and Lifetime Fitness.
Dr. Robinson will also serve as an Assistant Professor in UW's Mechanical Engineering department and as core faculty in the Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine.
Dr. Robinson joins us from the University of Kansas where she was an assistant Professor in chemical engineering. Previously, she was a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University, a graduate researcher at Texas A&M University and a Whitaker Fellow at the National University of Singapore. She holds a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Texas A&M and a B.S. in bioengineering from Rice University.
Dr. Robinson's reserch interests include a cell’s ability to sense mechanical change – such as torn fibers after an injury – and convert that to a biochemical signal that leads to cellular changes. She designs and creates biomaterials that could lead cells to regenerate tissue. This area of research could impact people with injuries and diseases like osteoarthritis.
Researchers in her lab are currently working on projects related to the knee meniscus. They’re making fibers similar to collagen fibers found in the knee. Using a technique that applies an electric field to a conductive, polymeric solution, the researchers can alter the system to manipulate the fibers’ properties to mimic properties after injury. This helps them understand how the immune system responds to the changes. The researchers are also building hydrogels, a material that holds large amounts of water, to mimic the viscoelastic mechanical properties of the meniscus. They are studying how changing the properties of the hydrogels impacts meniscus cells. The lab will then combine the fibers and hydrogels into a composite structure similar to the meniscus.