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Ritu Raman, PhD

Faculty Starter Grant in Translational Medicine, 2022 Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Building New 3D Models to Study Neuromuscular Disease


Recent advances in biomedical science have enabled the development of living mimics of the tissues in our bodies by patterning cells into 3D architectures. These systems help researchers study complex tissues in a lab setting and can serve as platforms to test new therapies prior to clinical trials. By giving scientists the ability to rapidly test and optimize new ways to combat disease and to understand toxicities, these model systems could play a significant role in bringing safe and effective therapies to patients. My research focuses on developing 3D models of the neuromuscular system, which is powered by skeletal muscle and controlled by nerves. The neuromuscular system generates all voluntary movement in our bodies, and damage or diseases that affect muscle or nerves can severely limit health, mobility, and quality of life. My team anticipates that our platform will be useful for studying a range of neuromuscular diseases. Specifically, we are designing and testing therapeutic strategies that can help regenerate tissue after nerve injuries, with an emphasis on techniques that can be translated to the clinic to help patients suffering from mobility loss.

This grant will help my lab advance fundamental understanding of neuromuscular disease and accelerate development of new translational therapies that restore health and quality of life to patients suffering from mobility loss.

Ritu Raman