BIOE Seminar: Irene Kochevar

Friday, March 1, 2019
9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.
A. James Clark Hall, The Zupnik Forum
Dr. Giuliano Scarcelli

Dr. Irene Kochevar 
Harvard Medical School

Sealing Wounds and Strengthening Tissues with Photons

We have developed a light-based technology to seal wounds and strengthen tissues that is based on the crosslinking of tissue proteins by photochemical reactions. A safe dye, Rose Bengal, applied to the tissue and illuminated with green light, initiates formation of covalent protein-protein crosslinks. This approach rapidly seals wounds in skin and cornea, reconnects severed nerves, blood vessels and tendons, and strengthens weak corneas and blood vessels. Two of these clinical applications, namely, sealing skin wounds and strengthening weak corneas, will be discussed in more detail emphasizing the influences of dye localization, oxygen level and light penetration on in vivo results. Our studies of the primary photochemical mechanisms for protein crosslinking in tissues have shown that crosslinking can be altered by varying the oxygen level, by adding biochemical enhancers and altering the aggregation of the dye. Our current goals are to apply the photochemical results to decreasing the irradiation time and increasing the bonding strength.

About the Speaker

Irene Kochevar is Professor of Dermatology, Harvard Medical School with laboratories in the Wellman Center for Photomedicine of the Massachusetts General Hospital. She has applied her background in physical organic chemistry and biochemistry to understand the fundamental mechanisms by which solar UV radiation generate oxidative stress in cells and the responses of cells to this stress including skin cancer, photoaging and phototoxicity. Her group’s current research focuses on developing a light-activated tissue repair technology based on protein-protein photo-crosslinking that has multiple medical applications. These include sealing wounds in skin and cornea, reattaching severed arteries, peripheral nerves and tendons, as well as stiffening weak corneas and blood vessels.   

Audience: Public 


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