January 4, 2017
Originally published by Sam Hostettler, UIC News
December 19, 2016
Luisa DiPietro, professor of periodontics at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry and director of the UIC Center for Wound Healing and Tissue Regeneration, has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.
Each year the Association elects members whose “efforts on behalf of the advancement of science or its applications are scientifically or socially distinguished.” DiPietro was the only UIC faculty member named a fellow this year.
“It’s truly a privilege to have been elected an AAAS fellow,” DiPietro said. “I feel very humbled to be among the many distinguished scientists who have received this honor.”
DiPietro studies the process of wound healing and tissue regeneration following injury. She and her coworkers have discovered several key differences that dictate whether wounds heal perfectly or with scars, and she and her colleagues have identified a number of characteristics that distinguish the rapid and scarless wound healing that occurs in the oral mucosa, the tissue lining the mouth.
“Our lab has shown that the privileged healing that occurs in oral mucosa is characterized by reduced and regulated inflammation, and the rapid establishment of a mature capillary bed,” DiPietro said. “Of clinical relevance is our finding that a pharmacologically induced reduction in capillary growth leads to reduced scar formation in skin.”
The approach, DiPietro said, could ultimately be used to reduce skin scarring in patients with severe injuries such as burns. Her current work continues to focus on these topics, as well as the genomic regulation of wound repair and the development of computational models of wound healing.
DiPietro is also actively involved in training and mentoring the next wave of scientists.
“At the end of the day it’s often not our own discoveries, but instead the scientists that follow us that become our legacy,” she said. DiPietro has mentored more than 60 trainees at all levels and serves as the faculty adviser for the UIC Postdoctoral Association. She is also the current director of the UIC Center for Clinical and Translational Science KL2 junior faculty career development program.
Throughout her career, DiPietro has received more than $14 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health; her work has been continuously funded by the NIH since 1993. She has also served as principal investigator of one of four National Institute of General Medical Sciences National Centers for Innovative Wound Healing Research.
Regenerative Science at UIC College of Dentistry
We are moving beyond tissue replacement, using materials to enable our bodies to regenerate damaged and failing tissues. We are leading investigations into how materials interact with living tissues, and the building of tissue replacements for the growth of cells/tissues to replace lost tissues. The Center for Wound Healing and Tissue Regeneration (CWHTR) is a unique community of scientists and clinicians devoted to the study of injury, wound healing, and regeneration. The Laboratory of Applied Dental Biomaterials and Interfaces is a NIH funded center studying the properties of the tooth in order to develop reparative/regenerative biomaterials to replace lost tooth structure.
About the American Association for the Advancement of Science
The American Association for the Advancement of Science is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science for the benefit of all people. The AAAS is the world's largest multidisciplinary scientific society and a leading publisher of cutting-edge research through its Science family of journals. The AAAS has individual members in more than 91 countries around the globe, who share the goals and belief that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics can help solve many of the challenges the world faces today.