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DATE: August 2021
Rush University | Department of Rheumatology
Natalie Adamczyk

We are an interdisciplinary and translational lab combining rheumatology and neuroscience at Rush University Medical Center, Chicago IL. Our primary research focus is osteoarthritis pain with the goal to identify cellular and molecular changes associated with chronic osteoarthritis pain. Experimental modeling of osteoarthritis can be done through surgery or natural aging. Our lab utilizes animals both aged and surgical models of osteoarthritis to assess the impact the condition has on cellular, molecular, and behavioral processes. Often our studies require administration of a therapeutic or virus through intra-articular injection. Intra-articular injections are done by anesthetizing the animals and shaving the fur around the knee, in mice a whiter area can be seen when looking at the knee which signifies the patellar ligament. A needle must be inserted right in the center of the patellar ligament to enter the intra articular space and administer toxins, antigens, or therapeutics. Our lab utilizes such a technique in mice to administer AAV vectors to tag specific cells. Injecting AAV vectors has given us the opportunity to conduct in vivo imaging of nerves that innervate the knee joint in order to study how they change in osteoarthritis.

Intra-articular injections are an integral part of the lab's framework, requiring a precise and miniscule amount of liquid to be dispensed into the intra-articular space of a mouse knee. The hope is to further branch out with injection sites such as to the brain or spinal cord. Hamilton's syringes are exactly what is needed in order to be able to do the kind of injections for our projects. Another goal of the lab is to teach other people around the world how to study musculoskeletal pain, including how to perform intra-articular injections. Being awarded the syringe grant will be of benefit in allowing us to better accommodate teaching visitors. Visitors would have access to different kinds of syringes dedicated to teaching and be able to learn both techniques and syringe maintenance. The grant would further allow us to have syringes specific for each project to reduce risk of cross contamination between substances.

Rush University is in a position within the city that allows collaboration with multiple institutions. Currently our lab has a collaboration with a lab at Northwestern which we hold an NIH P30 grant with, this grant allows us to share resources. Researchers from other institutions through the P30 will also be able to visit our lab and learn techniques. These syringes will be immensely valuable for the lab in order to train visiting individuals, students, volunteers, and interns as well as keep up our own stock and share amongst collaborators.

Website: http://www.annemariemalfait.com/people/Malfait_Lab

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