2023 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

Home Department: Biology
Mentor: Jill Helms (Surgery - Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery)

“Molecular Control of Scarring: Enhancing Surgical Repair Healing in Pediatric Patients”

Cleft palate is a common birth defect that can be treated through surgical intervention. However, surgical repair in pediatric patients results in scar tissue that restricts facial growth. Ishita aims to explore a novel treatment that would reduce scarring by targeted activation of local stem cells in a mouse model. After a period of healing, Ishita will assess facial growth using micro Ct-imaging which will be used to derive 3D renderings. Additionally, the tissue will be harvested and stained using histology/immunohistochemistry to quantify re-epithelialization/fibrosis. This will help her elucidate if stem-cell activation approaches can be effective and lead to normal facial growth in treated patients.