Posted on May 9, 2022 by Rory Dew

MAY 9, 2022 – Christopher Rathbone , assistant professor of biomedical engineering in UTSA’s Margie and Bill Klesse College of Engineering and Integrated Design (Klesse College) recently received a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

CAREER is the NSF’s most prestigious award designed to support early-career faculty who demonstrate potential to serve as academic role models in research and education. Faculty members may apply for the award to recognize research activities that set a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in their academic discipline.

Rathbone’s CAREER project will examine adipocytes (fat cells) in diabetic skeletal muscle during muscle repair and regeneration. An in vitro model of tissue-engineered skeletal muscle (TE-SkM) will be used as a tool to deconstruct the role of adipocytes in skeletal muscle using conditions that mimic diabetes and muscle injury.

The knowledge and experience gained from this work will lead to the development of more comprehensive tissue engineering models for understanding and treating skeletal muscle complications. Rathbone believes that the findings generated with this work will extend to the engineering of tissues beyond skeletal muscle. As a result of this award, Rathbone will receive $503,000 of funding over the next five years.

“An NSF CAREER award is a highly coveted designation,” said JoAnn Browning , dean of Klesse College. “Chris has worked hard to achieve this and has made significant contributions to the research and teaching functions of our college. Congratulations on this award, I look forward to seeing his career progress.”

“Dr. Rathbone’s is an outstanding researcher, but also a dedicated educator who is excellent in the classroom and committed to the success of our students,” said Eric Brey , chair of UTSA’s Department of Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering. “His work will allow for a better understanding of diabetes and metabolic disease which pose significant challenges locally and around the world. Dr. Rathbone is highly deserving of this recognition.”

In receiving an NSF CAREER award, Rathbone joins the ranks of two other biomedical engineering professors, Teja Guda and Gabriela Romero-Uribe, who previously received this prestigious accolade. Klesse College’s faculty also includes four other NSF CAREER awardees, Wei Gao (mechanical engineering), Ram Krishnan (electrical engineering) Nikolaos Gatsis (electrical engineering) and Yanmin Gong (electrical engineering).

— Rory Dew