Miss Alexandra Iordachescu
MSc BSc (Hons)
Creating an in vitro model of pathogenic ossification to explore methods for dispersion.
Pathological ossification is a condition characterised by ectopic bone formation in tissues which normally do not exhibit properties of ossification, such as the subcutaneous tissue, skeletal muscle or the fibrous tissue in the periarticular regions. It can form in various clinical contexts including genetic, post-surgical, following traumatic brain or spinal cord injury and also as a complication of modern wartime extremity injuries. Ossification of soft tissues is a severely debilitating process, which can cause a considerable loss of function especially when forming adjacent to joints, major blood vessels and nerves and can significantly obstruct the use of prostheses following amputation. The aetiology of many of these ossifications is unclear and this is partly due to the inability to probe factors that may influence hard tissue formation in existing animal models. The project, based at both the Universities of Birmingham and Oxford, aims to develop an in vitro model of pathological mineralisation, so that existing animal models can be improved and eventually eliminated. The model will also enable the systematic investigation of factors that might influence hard tissue formation. Furthermore, the project aims to evaluate how existing drugs and other treatments may be used to disperse the ossification.
Alexandra obtained her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences in 2012 from the University of Manchester. Having participated in various space projects and NASA competitions before and during her degree, Alexandra developed a strong interest in the physiological adaptation to extreme conditions, which led her to undertake a Master’s degree in Space Physiology and Health at King’s College London, which she obtained in 2014. As part of her Master’s course, she was involved in several research projects at institutions and organisations including the RAF, the European Space Agency and the German Aerospace Center. In July 2014, Alexandra joined the Tissue Regeneration and Interface Lab as a doctoral researcher, working on developing an in-vitro model that would allow a better characterisation of the cellular pathophysiology behind the ossification of soft tissues following trauma.