Profile in Research: Jennifer Elisseeff, PhD
Jennifer Elisseeff, PhD, is an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University with an adjunct appointment in Orthopedic Surgery. Her biomaterials and tissue engineering laboratory at Johns Hopkins focuses on developing new biomaterials and minimally invasive technologies for tissue repair, stem cells, and musculoskeletal tissue engineering.
Elisseeff has published more than 50 articles and book chapters, has six patents issued and pending, and has given more than 60 invited national and international lectures. She recently cofounded a company that is developing new materials and therapies for cartilage repair. Elisseeff received her first Arthritis Foundation grant in 2002 and has received numerous other awards, including the Carnegie Mellon Young Alumni Award and was named by Technology Review magazine as a top innovator under 35 in 2002 and creator of a top 10 technology likely to change the future. Elisseeff took a few minutes out of her busy day to chat with me about her research and life.
How do you think your research will impact your local community?
It will bring new products to market to help people delay and eventually avoid joint replacement.
How would you ultimately like to see your research applied?
I started a company three years ago to help translate the research into clinical practicality. I would like to see the research reach people to help improve their daily lives.
What are your impressions of the Arthritis Foundation?
The Arthritis Foundation is a fantastic organization that runs an informative meeting every-other year and gets young researchers involved in arthritis research. I received my very first grant from this Foundation – it kick started my lab!
What role do you feel the Arthritis Foundation plays in the progress of arthritis research?
Supporting young researchers is an incredibly important aspect of the Foundation that helps spur research forward.
Given the prevalence of arthritis – one in five Americans with the disease – do you have a personal connection that makes the disease more than a statistic to you?
Not yet – but I do have a family history of arthritis in the hips and the CEO of my company has arthritis.
Considering all the medical conditions in need of your field of research, what are the mysteries surrounding arthritis that interest you most?
I am interested in the basic mechanisms of how cartilage forms (i.e., stem cells) and how the joint environment changes with arthritis and makes it harder for us (the engineers) to repair cartilage.
When you’re not in the lab or your office, where can you most often be found?
Spending time with my daughter.