Alexandra N. Rindone
In professor Warren Grayson’s lab, we created 3D maps that allowed us to see the distribution of blood vessels and stem cells throughout the mouse skull for the first time. To do this, we developed a light-sheet microscopy platform that enabled us to image the entire top portion of the skull at single-cell resolution. Using our 3D maps, we discovered that stem cells were spatially associated with specific types of blood vessels during skull bone growth and healing. These results will help inform the research and development of regenerative therapies for patients suffering from large skull bone injuries.
Questions & Answers
Why did you choose Johns Hopkins for your work? I chose Johns Hopkins because of its friendly and collaborative research environment, and its world-class research facilities that enabled me to pursue cutting-edge, cross-disciplinary research. What does receiving this award mean to you personally and professionally? Do you have any connection with the particular award you received? I have always been inspired by previous awardees in the Young Investigators’ Day program. Becoming a member of this accomplished group is a great honor, and it will encourage me to continue pursuing innovative biomedical research as I begin my career. What contributed to your project’s success? (Special skills, interests, opportunities, guidance, etc.) This project was very challenging and required me to learn new techniques in different research areas, including cranial bone biology and 3D light-sheet imaging. However, my adviser, professor Warren Grayson, was very supportive throughout my studies, and he helped connect me with collaborators to help with various aspects of my project. Additionally, my thesis committee members — professors Mei Wan, Scot Kuo and Daniel Coutu — provided helpful guidance on various aspects on my project. I was also grateful for the opportunity to visit professor Coutu’s lab in Ottawa, Canada, to train on essential bone imaging techniques. What thoughts do you have about Young Investigators’ Day itself, as a celebration of the roles students and fellows play in research at Hopkins?
Young Investigators’ Day is a wonderful program that highlights the outstanding research by students and young investigators at Hopkins. I am very grateful to be a part of a community that celebrates the accomplishments of young researchers and provides us a platform for sharing our work! What has been your best/most memorable experience while at Hopkins? My most memorable experience was visiting professor Daniel Coutu’s lab at the University of Ottawa in Canada. It was wonderful meeting members of the Coutu lab, and I was able to receive training from them on specialized techniques that were essential for my project. I am very grateful for their hospitality during my visit! Additionally, it was the first time that I had been in a research environment outside of the United States, and I enjoyed learning about how biomedical research is conducted in Canada. What are your plans over the next year or so? Graduating, looking for faculty positions, etc.? I recently graduated with my Ph.D. in biomedical engineering, and will be continuing my research at Hopkins as a postdoctoral fellow in the labs of professors Jennifer Elisseeff and Warren Grayson. My goal is obtain a faculty position in the next few years and start a lab focused on studying regenerative therapies for orthopaedic tissue repair. Tell me something interesting about yourself that makes you unique. Do you have any special hobbies, interests or life experiences? When I was in middle school, I competed in sport stacking competitions, aka cup stacking, and was the Individual all-around world champion in 2006. I had the privilege of stacking on TV shows including Good Morning America and an ESPN special to promote the sport.