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Deepak Vashishth - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Troy, NY, US

Deepak Vashishth

Director, Center for Biotechnology & Interdisciplinary Studies & Professor, Biomedical Engineering | Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


Working to redefine the role of a top tier research university

Areas of Expertise (8)

Extracellular Matrix Science and Engineering



Tissue Engineering



Regenerative Medicine



Director of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Center for Biotechnology & Interdisciplinary Studies (CBIS), conducting breakthrough research on bones, Deepak Vashishth, PhD, is working to redefine the role of a top tier research university: one that is engaged in public and private partnerships, involved in interdisciplinary research, and providing quality education, all to drive entrepreneurial, sustainable, socially responsible scientific discovery and technological innovation. Administrative leadership: Through his work as a University Center Director, previously as a School of Engineering Department head, and in professional societies he has successfully developed partnerships, Programs, and platforms, to drive translational scientific research across disciplines, sectors,and geographic boundaries. As Director of CBIS he oversees 70 resident and non-resident faculty (from each of the five Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute schools); engages with global partners in the public, private, and academic sectors; and fosters innovative graduate and undergraduate research and education initiatives. In his first two years as CBIS Director he has: envisioned and facilitated the creation of two transformative research centers (Bioimaging Center and Center for Translational Research in Medicine); led the development of an industry partners program to enhance technology transfer and commercialization; and broadened the scope of interdisciplinary research by combining biotechnology with architecture, humanities, and management. As Department Head of Biomedical Engineering (BME) in the School of Engineering at Rensselaer, in just 3 years he dramatically grew and strengthened the department: increased tenured faculty tenfold (1 to 10); added a senior endowed chair to its rank; and it became home to 7 NSF career awardees and recipient of more than 10 NIH RO1 awards (from 2 in 2009). As a committee member of the Orthopaedic Research Society, he developed and facilitated a “Symposium in Translational Medicine” designed to accelerate the transition of discoveries from lab bench to bedside by bridging the gap between clinical, basic science & engineering, government agencies (FDA) and industry.

Education (3)

University of London: Ph.D., Biomedical Materials 1997

West Virginia University: M.S., Mechanical Engineering 1992

Malviya National Institute of Technology (MNIT): B.S., Mechanical Engineering 1988

Media Appearances (4)

Stochasticity–inherent fluctuations in materials merit exploration

Phys.org  online


Scientists and engineers who work with materials – metals, polymers, ceramics, composites, and glasses – know that at some scale, predictive ability breaks down amid the fluctuations known as "stochasticity." On the atomic scale for example, even the most perfect crystal has thermodynamic fluctuations, in the form of "point defects" – atoms missing from the crystal lattice. In another example, the atoms within an alloy material may distribute in many ways: an alloy made of silicon germanium, may be half and half of each element overall, but with stochastic fluctuations the ratio in which those elements are found varies at different length scales throughout the material.

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How a cell knows when to divide

ScienceDaily  online


How does a cell know when to divide? We know that hundreds of genes contribute to a wave of activity linked to cell division, but to generate that wave new research shows that cells must first grow large enough to produce four key proteins in adequate amounts. The study, published today in Cell Systems, offers a path for controlling the balance between cell growth and division, which is implicated in countless diseases, including cancers.

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Tech Valley weathering funding loss

Times Union  online


"Innovation lies at the crossroads" of disciplines, Vashishth said. "If you can express a concept in the form of mathematics, you can predict it, optimize it and control it." The center's research budget has increased from $1 million that first year to $14 million a year currently, Vashishth said.

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Battling Brittle Bones ... With Broccoli and Spinach?

RPI News  online


A study from engineering researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute shows, for the first time, how the little-understood protein osteocalcin plays a significant role in the strength of our bones. The findings could lead to new strategies and therapeutics for fighting osteoporosis and lowering the risk of bone fracture.

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Articles (3)

Co-culture cell-derived extracellular matrix loaded electrospun microfibrous scaffolds for bone tissue engineering

Materials Science and Engineering: C

Marta S Carvalho, João C Silva, Ranodhi N Udangawa, Joaquim MS Cabral, Frederico Castelo Ferreira, Cláudia L da Silva, Robert J Linhardt, Deepak Vashishth

2019 Cell-derived extracellular matrix (ECM) has been employed as scaffolds for tissue engineering, creating a biomimetic microenvironment that provides physical, chemical and mechanical cues for cells and supports cell adhesion, proliferation, migration and differentiation by mimicking their in vivo microenvironment. Despite the enhanced bioactivity of cell-derived ECM, its application as a scaffold to regenerate hard tissues such as bone is still hampered by its insufficient mechanical properties. The combination of cell-derived ECM with synthetic biomaterials might result in an effective strategy to enhance scaffold mechanical properties and structural support. Electrospinning has been used in bone tissue engineering to fabricate fibrous and porous scaffolds, mimicking the hierarchical organized fibrillar structure and architecture found in the ECM. Although the structure of the scaffold might be similar to ECM architecture, most of these electrospun scaffolds have failed to achieve functionality due to a lack of bioactivity and osteoinductive factors. In this study, we developed bioactive cell-derived ECM electrospun polycaprolactone (PCL) scaffolds produced from ECM derived from human mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSC), human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) and their combination based on the hypothesis that the cell-derived ECM incorporated into the PCL fibers would enhance the biofunctionality of the scaffold. The aims of this study were to fabricate and characterize cell-derived ECM electrospun PCL scaffolds and assess their ability to enhance osteogenic differentiation of MSCs, envisaging bone tissue engineering applications. Our findings demonstrate that all cell-derived ECM electrospun scaffolds promoted significant cell proliferation compared to PCL alone, while presenting similar physical/mechanical properties. Additionally, MSC:HUVEC-ECM electrospun scaffolds significantly enhanced osteogenic differentiation of MSCs as verified by increased ALP activity and osteogenic gene expression levels. To our knowledge, these results describe the first study suggesting that MSC:HUVEC-ECM might be developed as a biomimetic electrospun scaffold for bone tissue engineering applications.

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Altered tissue composition, microarchitecture, and mechanical performance in cancellous bone from men with type 2 diabetes mellitus

Journal of Bone and Mineral Research

Heather B Hunt, Ashley M Torres, Pablo M Palomino, Eric Marty, Rehan Saiyed, Matthew Cohn, Jonathan Jo, Stephen Warner, GrazynaE Sroga, KarenB King, JosephM Lane, Deepak Vashishth, Christopher J Hernandez, Eve Donnelly

2019 People with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) have normal to high bone mineral densities, but, counterintuitively, have greater fracture risks than people without T2DM, even after accounting for potential confounders like BMI and falls. Therefore, T2DM may alter aspects of bone quality, including material properties or microarchitecture, that increase fragility independently of bone mass. Our objective was to elucidate the factors that influence fragility in T2DM by comparing the material properties, microarchitecture, and mechanical performance of cancellous bone in a clinical population of men with and without T2DM. Cancellous specimens from the femoral neck were collected during total hip arthroplasty (T2DM: n=31, age=65±8 years, HbA1c=7.1 ± 0.9%; non‐DM: n=34, age=62±9 years, HbA1c=5.5±0.4%). The T2DM specimens had greater concentrations of the advanced glycation endproduct pentosidine (+36%, p

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Synergistic effect of extracellularly supplemented osteopontin and osteocalcin on stem cell proliferation, osteogenic differentiation, and angiogenic properties

Journal of Cellular Biochemistry

Marta S Carvalho, Joaquim MS Cabral, Cláudia L da Silva, Deepak Vashishth

2018 A high demand for functional bone grafts is being observed worldwide, especially due to the increased life expectancy. Osteoinductive components should be incorporated into functional bone grafts, accelerating cell recruitment, cell proliferation, angiogenesis, and new bone formation at a defect site. Noncollagenous bone matrix proteins, especially osteopontin (OPN) and osteocalcin (OC), have been reported to regulate some physiological process, such as cell migration and bone mineralization. However, the effects of OPN and OC on cell proliferation, osteogenic differentiation, mineralization, and angiogenesis are still undefined. Therefore, we assessed the exogenous effect of OPN and OC supplementation on human bone marrow mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (hBM MSC) proliferation and osteogenic differentiation. OPN dose‐dependently increased the proliferation of hBM MSC, as well as improved the angiogenic properties of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) by increasing the capillary‐like tube formation in vitro. On the other hand, OC enhanced the differentiation of hBM MSC into osteoblasts and demonstrated an increase in extracellular calcium levels and alkaline phosphatase activity, as well as higher messenger RNA levels of mature osteogenic markers osteopontin and osteocalcin. In vivo assessment of OC/OPN‐enhanced scaffolds in a critical‐sized defect rabbit long‐bone model revealed no infection, while new bone was being formed. Taken together, these results suggest that OC and OPN stimulate bone regeneration by inducing stem cell proliferation, osteogenesis and by enhancing angiogenic properties. The synergistic effect of OC and OPN observed in this study can be applied as an attractive strategy for bone regeneration therapeutics by targeting different vital cellular processes.

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