Gregory Christopherson, Ph.D.
Associate Director, Tissue Materials Science at LifeCell

Greg Christopherson was born in Detroit, MI and raised in the suburbs. He studied Biomedical Engineering at Michigan Technological University, started his master’s degree in Materials Science, and then decided to get engaged, follow his fiancée to the East Coast and pursue a PhD at Johns Hopkins University – but still in Materials Science. He was awarded a DOD fellowship, an ARCS fellowship, and multiple internal scholarships during his time at Johns Hopkins, and bypassed a NRC Fellowship to join the National Institutes of Health as a postdoctoral fellow. While at the NIH he worked closely with military surgeons from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, investigating traumatic heterotopic ossification in soldiers wounded in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. Those lessons in wound healing brought him to LifeCell R&D, where he is currently creating the next wave of regenerative products to help improve patients’ lives. When not in the lab, he alternates between relaxing with his wife and chasing his two young daughters around their home in New Jersey.

Decellularized Dermal Tissue as a Biomaterial: An Early Success of Regenerative Medicine

Regenerative medicine has held the promise to transform patient care for decades, but true clinical impact in the field is still tantalizingly on the horizon, with only a few instances of technological breakthroughs altering the medical landscape. LifeCell is one of the commercial success stories of translational research, revolutionizing the ways that surgeons treat their patients in the fields of breast reconstruction and complex hernia repair. Although not often viewed as a biomaterial in the traditional sense, acellular dermal matrices (ADMs) such as AlloDerm® and Strattice™ share many of the same challenges in manufacturing as their synthetic brethren: regulatory hurdles; materials procurement; manufacturing tolerances; sterilization procedures; the biological impact of poor processing. Each of these unique elements will be examined in detail, with an overarching discussion of how ADMs have evolved through the past 25 years, providing a real-life example of how unmet clinical needs drive corporate innovation for both new and existing biomaterials.