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In the Spotlight...

Christina Salas, Ph.D.

salasChristina Salas, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Departments of Orthopaedics & Rehabilitation and Mechanical Engineering
The University of New Mexico

Dr. Salas has disclosed ten inventions, received one UNM-affiliated issued U. S. patent, and has five pending patent applications for her tissue engineering technologies for orthopaedic applications.

Current surgical treatment of fractures in subcutaneous bones can be technically challenging and can lead to problems related to prominent metal surgical implants.  Current methods for treating knee fractures often require another expensive surgery to remove painful and irritated implants just beneath the skin. Medical implants specifically designed to treat these fractures close to the skin is one way to solve this problem.  An effective implant should be inconspicuous, able to withstand significant tensile stresses during the healing process, and be easily moldable to fit the contour of bone to prevent metal prominence.  The implant material should also be versatile and highly durable so that it could be used throughout the body.

Dr. Salas’ mesh-plate technology is a high-tension mesh plate designed to fixate, or immobilize, fractures in subcutaneous bones where high tensile stresses exist, such as in the knee, elbow, and sternum.  The mesh plate can be attached to the bone with screws to stabilize fractures and can be easily formed to precisely fit each patient’s bony surface contour.  The mesh plate is particularly stable for fractures with multiple fragments.  Additionally, these mesh designs can be produced from a wide variety of materials that may avoid potential long-term effects associated with metallic implant corrosion, breakdown, and soft-tissue irritation.  The technology is likely to outperform current fracture repair techniques, such as much larger compression plates and steel wire, because it can resist high tension physiologic stresses across the fracture site, allowing an optimal position for the bone to heal.

Dr. Salas’ research covers broad applications in orthopaedics-focused experimental and computational biomechanics and biomaterials with particular interest in tissue engineering for orthopaedic applications.  Her research team has specifically focused on additive manufacturing techniques, such as 3D bioprinting and electrospinning for tissue engineering of the bone-ligament interface and low-cost, 3D-printed upper limb prosthetics for pediatric patients in New Mexico.

ISSUED U. S. PATENT (UNM-AFFILIATED)

9,517,097 Low-Profile, High-Tension Mesh Plate for Subcutaneous Fracture Fixation, issued December 13, 2016

PENDING PATENT APPLICATIONS

Pelvic Ring Emergency Stabilization System (PRESS)
Pediatric Bone Density Positioning Device
Mechanism for Simulating of Bone Awl Surgical Procedures
3D Hierarchical, Functionally-Graded Biocomposite Scaffolds for Interface Tissue Engineering
E-Spin Printer

 

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