First AO Research Institute Davos researcher from the ThinkSwiss research fellowship program

Fellow Justine Roberts joined the Musculoskeletal Regeneration Team at AO Research Institute Davos.

02 September 2010

Justine Roberts

In June 2010 Justine Roberts joined the AO Research Institute Davos (ARI) Musculoskeletal Regeneration Team on a two month ThinkSwiss research fellowship. The ThinkSwiss program, now in its fourth year, offers American students research scholarships and grants to study at top Swiss universities. This is the first time AO Research Institute Davos has a research fellow participating in the program. The objective of ThinkSwiss research stay is the exchange of knowledge and the establishment of a network between American students and researchers in Swiss labs. The call for applicants had a huge response in 2010 with 20 successful students being awarded between US$2,000 and US$3,000 to cover their expenses while staying in Switzerland.

Justine Roberts in the AO Research Institute Davos lab

Instead of the usual University placement, Justine approached Principal Investigator David Eglin to undertake a fellowship at AO Research Institute Davos. The development work at AO Research Institute Davos is a good match with her PhD in Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Colorado in Boulder where she is studying at Dr Stephanie Bryant’s Biomaterials and Functional Tissue Engineering Lab. The ability to attract outside researchers that have acquired their own funding proves AO Research Institute Davos’s attractiveness as a competitive lab for biology, chemistry, biochemistry and biomechanics on an international scale.

As part of the Musculoskeletal Regeneration Program, Justine is investigating methods to incorporate degradation and improve mechanical properties of the novel thermoreversible hyaluronan hydrogels that have been developed at AO Research Institute Davos. This project deals with cartilage tissue engineering applications and is aimed at regenerating cartilage in osteoarthritic patients (individuals that have pain and reduced mobility due to age or injury related cartilage degeneration).

AO Research Group Retreat

As an enthusiastic exponent of this program Justine said that: “Getting to know how different research labs function, taking back new techniques to my lab in Boulder and getting broad exposure to how different researchers work is the highlight of this program for me. This fellowship has also given me the opportunity to research at AO Research Institute Davos, where I have attended the eCMXI Cartilage and Disc: Repair and Regeneration conference and the summit of European Orthopaedic Research both hosted by AO Research Institute Davos in Davos, giving me access to experts in the field which I would otherwise not have had”.

Although the ThinkSwiss funding came to an end during the Summer months, Justine has already lined up further funding in order to be able to spend a full six months at AO Research Institute Davos in order to work more in depth on her research project.

For more information on how to apply for a scholarship and to read Justine’s weekly blog during the two months of the ThinkSwiss program click here.

ThinkSwiss scholars on the way back from Jungfraujoch

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