Friday May 12, 2017

TREND Interim Director

The University of Dayton appointed Amit Singh as interim director of the Center for Tissue Regeneration and Engineering at Dayton (TREND), effective May 1. Singh, an associate professor and director of the graduate program in biology, joined the faculty in 2007.

The appointment was prompted by the untimely passing in September 2016 of Panagiotis “Takis” Tsonis, an internationally recognized researcher of tissue regeneration who helped establish TREND in 2006 as an Ohio Center of Excellence in the field of biomedicine and health care.

“We are fortunate to have a number of faculty whose work in regenerative biology continues, including Dr. Singh,” said Jason Pierce, College of Arts and Sciences dean. “Dr. Singh is a hard-working and diligent faculty member whose contributions to TREND go back many years. He is the natural person to turn to during this transition period and I appreciate his willingness to bring leadership to the TREND Center.”

The TREND Center focuses on understanding how damaged tissues and organs regenerate and how to harness this phenomenon to engineer or regrow new tissues.

Singh will serve as the interim director until a permanent director is identified. He will work with TREND faculty to map out priorities and initiatives. He also plans to launch a speaker series focusing on regenerative biology and biomedical approaches in human disease, and will organize a major national conference in spring 2018.

“When Panagiotis passed away there was a vacuum, because he was the main force behind the center,” Singh said. “But then we had a lot of discussion among the faculty and wanted to keep his legacy going on and keep this center moving.”

Working with faculty, Singh plans to identify research strengths within the center to target for increased external grant funding. He also wants to explore faculty research areas beyond engineering, biology and chemistry, as well as expand graduate and undergraduate student research.

The national conference will showcase TREND’s research for pioneers in the field of biology and biomedical sciences.

“This will be a tribute to Dr. Tsonis,” Singh said. “At the same time, we will generate some opportunities for the existing faculty to interact with the big hitters in the field so there is some possibility for future collaborations among them.”

Singh’s own research investigates early detection of Alzheimer's, an incurable disease that afflicts an estimated 5.5 million Americans, using the fruit fly’s eye as a model.

“We have introduced a human disease gene in flies and as a result flies start losing neurons, which is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease,” he explained. “So you can demonstrate how the disease progresses in an animal model, and then we are looking for drug targets which can prevent, block or delay the onset of disease.”

Singh holds a bachelor’s degree from the Government Degree College Nahan, H.P. University, India, and a master’s and doctorate, both from Devi Ahilya University, Indore, India.

He is member of the Genetics Society of America, Ohio Miami Valley Society of Neuroscience and the Council of Undergraduate Research. He is also an editorial board member of Developmental Dynamics, Journal of Biological Sciences, Journal of Cell Science and Therapy, Current Research in Neuroscience and BMC Genetics and Genomics, Scientific Report.

The TREND Center has more than 20 researchers participating from six academic departments and the University of Dayton Research Institute. Center investigators maintain nearly $5 million in research contracts and grants, and have compiled more than 500 peer-reviewed articles.

The TREND Center promotes technology transfer by facilitating the availability of the applications, techniques and tools developed by the center to be commercialized by the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and health care industries.

- Dave Larsen, communication coordinator, College of Arts and Sciences

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