Assistant Professor of Small Animal Surgery
University of Pennsylvania
Graduate Group: Pathology
Thesis Topic: Bone morphogenetic protein signaling during chondrocyte maturation
In postnatal organisms, adult stem cells provide a source of new cells for the routine maintenance or repair of tissues or organs. These stem cells hold particular promise in the field of tissue engineering to replace tissue or improve organ function damaged by congenital defects, age, disease or trauma. Dr. Volk's research focuses on a particular type of adult stem cell known as the mesenchymal stem cell (MSC). Her laboratory is interested in defining regulator cues important to direct MSC homing to sites of injury, as well as in vitro and in vivo signals important to direct their differentiation into appropriate target cell types for use in cell based therapeutic strategies in human and veterinary medicine. Current work focuses on defining cellular and molecular mechanisms by which MSCs improve cutaneous wound repair, and elucidating the role of the extracellular matrix in modulation of progenitor cell activity during tissue regeneration. In addition, her laboratory is also working to define optimal donor characteristics for canine MSCs for future clinical applications.