Posted on February 27, 2020 by Klesse College

Christopher Rathbone, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering.

Please tell us about yourself.
I am originally from Iowa, the youngest of three siblings, the husband of an extremely supportive wife, and the proud father of two amazing kids.

What is your job title and what do you do?
I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering. I teach classes in the Spring and Fall semesters, supervise undergraduate and graduate students in research throughout the year, work towards procuring money to support my research, and provide service to UTSA by participating in a number of committees.

What brought you to UTSA?
I knew that the Department of Biomedical Engineering would provide me with the opportunities and support to succeed and provide meaningful scientific contributions. I also knew that I would have the opportunity to positively affect the next generation of students. This is important to me because I’ve been lucky to have had excellent teachers and mentors throughout the years.

Tell us about your research and what led you to your field.
My current research is focused on using tissue engineering strategies to develop skeletal muscle models that can recapitulate the negative effects of diseases like Type 2 diabetes. We also utilize tissue engineering-based approaches to develop therapies to treat diseases and injuries that can occur as a result of trauma. I’ve always had an interest in the amazing capacity of tissues, especially skeletal muscle, to remodel and repair. The fact that this capacity is altered with disease provides an endless supply of questions.

What do you want the public to know about your research? Why is your topic important?
The effect of traumatic injuries on muscle function are fairly obvious, but it’s less well-known that many diseases disrupt skeletal muscle homeostasis in some way. Better understanding the effects of injury and disease on skeletal muscle through tissue engineering can provide us with a way to improve the development of therapies to treat these complications. There’s also a strong possibility that tissue-engineered skeletal muscle may provide a means to directly repair damaged and diseased tissue. This is important because there are a large number of individuals that are affected by diseases like Type 2 diabetes and/or that have been injured.

What is your favorite part of your job?
There are a number of things I like about my job so nailing it down to one part if difficult, however, a thought that sticks out is that every day is different. Every day has unique challenges to overcome that require a specific approach, but also have small victories scattered throughout the day that continue to provide motivation.

Who has influenced you the most in life?
This is another tough question, and my perception of who has influenced me the most can really depend on what a given day puts in front of me (see previous answer). That caveat aside I have to say that my parents provided the greatest influence. It wasn’t by the words they said, but in the way they demonstrated such strong character and humility every single day regardless of their circumstances, without exception.

What is your favorite quote?
There are a lot of quotes I like, but a lot of people that know me will know the answer is this one: “The way you do one thing is the way you do everything.” I’m not sure exactly who to give the credit to. I must’ve heard it about 10 years ago and it just stuck.

— Klesse College