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Teaming Profiles

Thank you for showing an interest in ARPA-H’s Novel Innovations for Tissue Regeneration in Osteoarthritis (NITRO) program. This page is designed to help facilitate connections between prospective proposers. If either you or your organization are interested in teaming, please submit your information via the form below. Your details will then be added to the list below, which is publicly available.

NITRO anticipates that teaming will be necessary to achieve the goals of the program. Prospective performers are encouraged (but not required) to form teams with varied technical expertise to submit a proposal to the NITRO BAA.

NITRO Teaming Profile Form

Please note that by publishing the teaming profiles list, ARPA-H is not endorsing, sponsoring, or otherwise evaluating the qualifications of the individuals or organizations included here.

Interested in learning more about the NITRO program?

Teaming Profiles List

To narrow the results in the Teaming Profiles List, please use the input below to filter results based on your search term. The list will filter as you type.

Organization Contact Information Location Focus Area(s) Strengths/Experience Reason(s) for Partnering Technical Area(s) Offer NITRO and/or Partners
Texas A&M Unniversity Akhilesh Gaharwar ( College Station, TX Our organization's current research focuses primarily on developing innovative nanotherapies for osteoarthritis. We've introduced a novel mineral-based therapy, CartiRevive, which promotes in situ cartilage regeneration, targeting the root cause of osteoarthritis instead of just managing symptoms. This involves using mineral-based nanoparticles to stimulate the growth of cartilage cells and adjoining mesenchymal stem cells, enhancing the production of cartilaginous extracellular matrix.

Additionally, we are addressing limitations in late-stage osteoarthritis treatments through our advanced technology, CartiRenew. It is specifically designed for advanced osteoarthritis stages and leverages mineral-based nanotherapy for the sustained, localized release of immunotherapy and reprogramming factors. Its unique characteristics allow for extended retention within the joint space, ensuring a prolonged therapeutic effect. By providing a solution to these critical challenges, we hope to improve treatment efficacy in advanced osteoarthritis stages significantly.
Our organization excels in the design, development, and optimization of injectable biomaterials tailored for minimally invasive delivery. This strength enables us to create and refine solutions that maximize therapeutic effectiveness while minimizing patient discomfort and recovery time. In addition to this, we possess robust expertise in understanding the impact of biomaterials on the transcriptomic and epigenetic landscape. This deeper understanding allows us to fine-tune the biomaterials' interactions with biological systems, ensuring optimal compatibility and efficacy. Our years of experience in these areas have equipped us with the skills and knowledge necessary to innovate and lead in the realm of biomaterials science. Our organization is seeking potential teaming partners with the capability and expertise to evaluate our technology under in vivo models. This includes both small and large animal testing environments. The ideal partner would have a proven track record in the successful execution of animal model studies, with deep understanding of the associated regulatory requirements. The ability to effectively translate findings from these studies into actionable insights will also be key. Ultimately, we aim to collaborate with teams that share our commitment to rigorous testing and the advancement of bioengineering technologies. Technical area 1: Needle-Based and/or Non-Invasive Subchondral Bone Regeneration;
Technical area 2: Needle-Based and/or Non-Invasive Cartilage Regeneration;
Technical area 3: Allogeneic, Autogenous, Non-Immunogenic, Osteochondroinductive, and Load Bearing Total Replacement Joints;
Our organization can offer NITRO and potential teaming partners a wealth of bioengineering expertise, particularly in the realm of bone and cartilage regeneration. We bring to the table our proprietary mineral-based technologies capable of stimulating these regenerative processes. Our strong proficiency in injectable hydrogels, self-healing biomaterials, and bioactive nanomaterials facilitates advanced tissue restoration. Additionally, we offer an advanced understanding of sustained therapeutic protein delivery, enabling prolonged therapeutic action. This unique combination of skills and knowledge places us in a prime position to contribute to multifaceted bioengineering projects.
SignaBlok, Inc. Alexander B. Sigalov (
Shrewsbury, MA SignaBlok has an expanding, deep and diversified pipeline of new chemical entity (NCE) assets leveraging SignaBlok's proprietary technologies to shape macrophage biology in multiple inflammation-associated diseases and disorders where macrophages are centrally involved. Our current research focus include cancer, autoimmune, retinopathy, and other inflammatory diseases and conditions. Example is osteoarthritis (OA). We developed the concept of ligand-independent inhibition of cell receptors. We also developed a nature-inspired approach to targeted delivery of such inhibitors. We have a strong experience in rational design of TREM-1 and TREM-2 inhibitory peptides, preparation and characterization of their good manufacturing practice (GMP)-friendly nanoparticulate formulations. We also have an experience and expertise in collaborative work with academia and contract research organizations (CROs) on animal proof-of-concept work. Our nanoparticulate TREM-1 inhibitory formulations were recently recognized by the Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory (NCL) at NIH as one of the most promising therapeutic nanoformulations. We are looking for collaborative development of our TREM-1 and/or TREM-2 inhibitors as drug candidates for the treatment of OA. As mostly NIH-funded company, we are also interested in raising funding for this project. Technical area 1: Needle-Based and/or Non-Invasive Subchondral Bone Regeneration;
Technical area 2: Needle-Based and/or Non-Invasive Cartilage Regeneration;
Macrophages are key inflammatory cells that play role in pathogenesis of all types of arthritis including rheumatoid arthritis and OA, which also manifest as a result of post-traumatic OA (PTOA). TREM-1 and TREM-2 receptors, inflammation amplifiers, are overexpressed on macrophages upon inflammation and amplify systemic and local inflammatory responses. We developed macrophage-targeted TREM-1 and TREM-2 peptide inhibitors that employ a novel, ligand-independent mechanism of receptor inhibition. For TREM-1 and TREM-2 receptors, this mechanisms of action is especially important and advantageous because TREM-1 and TREM-2 ligands are still unknown. SignaBlok's TREM-1 and TREM-2 blockers prevent and treat arthritis in preventive and established collagen-induced arthritis mouse models.

We propose to advance regenerative and reconstructive strategies for treating OA, using these innovative TREM-1 and TREM-2 approaches to enable revolutionary advances in patient care algorithms.
Weinberg Medical Physics, Inc. Irving Weinberg MD PhD ( Rockville, MD We are an incubator focusing on applications of medical imaging and image-guided therapy. We have built products used by millions of people. We have started companies in multiple states and countries, that now have commercial medical and veterinary products. We are looking for drugs, genes, and scaffold materials that could be delivered, and partners for animal (and eventual human) testing. Our job will be to get those substances where they need to be in the joint. Technical area 1: Needle-Based and/or Non-Invasive Subchondral Bone Regeneration;
Technical area 2: Needle-Based and/or Non-Invasive Cartilage Regeneration;
Technical area 3: Allogeneic, Autogenous, Non-Immunogenic, Osteochondroinductive, and Load Bearing Total Replacement Joints;
We have built compact devices that use magnets to both collect high resolution MR images as well as manipulate magnetic particles in real-time. The magnetic particles can deliver drugs and genes through cartilage and into bone, and create scaffolds (as 3-D in site printers) with bio-degradable materials or iron-loaded cells.
Stanford University Heike E. Daldrup-Link, MD, PhD (
Stanford, CA We have established a large animal model for matrix associated stem cell implants and chondrocyte implants (MASI and MACI) in arthritic joints of pigs. We are developing clinical-translational medical imaging techniques that allow us to longitudinally study the regeneration potential of different cell therapies under various conditions with cell targeted biomarkers. I (PI) worked on this over the past 10 years via NIAMS 5R01AR054458 and UG3CA268112. Strength:
- experienced team with multi-disciplinary expertise - large animal model of MASI and MACI, established over the past ten years - cutting edge medical imaging techniques, arguably more advanced than anywhere else - experience in multi-center collaborations
Academic and Industry partners who would be interested testing new drugs or interventions that can improve the outcome of MASI and MACI - Academic and Industry partners developing senolytic therapies. Technical area 2: Needle-Based and/or Non-Invasive Cartilage Regeneration; We have established high resolution MRI and PET/MRI imaging techniques that can visualize cell implants in arthritis joints, macrophage responses, differentiate viable and apoptotic cells and detect senescent cells. We can provide early biomarkers for success or failure of MASI or MACI which can be correlated with MOCART scores and histological outcomes. For example, we labeled mesenchymal stromal cells with clinically approved nanoparticles and monitored their integration into the joint. We found improved cell engraftment when we pre-treat MSC with ascorbic acid. We have developed clinical-translational biomarkers for cell senescence which are injected intra-articularly or intravenously, retained in senescent cells and provide a signal on PET scans, which can be quantified and monitored before and after senolytic therapies.
Rhode Island Hospital Dr. Chathuraka T. Jayasuriya (
Providence, RI Our primary research focus is on musculoskeletal tissue engineering with particular interests in regenerative cell-based medicine, joint preservation, joint kinematics, and investigating the biological mechanisms of joint tissue healing and disease. Our research team in Rhode Island Hospital consists of a strong multidisciplinary team of cell & molecular biologists, bioengineers, clinicians, and biostatisticians with a proven track record in improving musculoskeletal soft tissue (meniscus) repair and attenuating post-traumatic osteoarthritis (PTOA) in pre-clinical animal models. Academia partners that have expertise to test pain outcomes using neurological (nerve/receptor) analysis - Industry partners that have facilities and expertise to scale up manufacturing. Technical area 2: Needle-Based and/or Non-Invasive Cartilage Regeneration;
Technical area 1: Needle-Based and/or Non-Invasive Subchondral Bone Regeneration;
We offer expertise on orthopaedic joint tissue injuries and degenerative joint disease, as many of our investigators are experts in these fields. We have proprietary cell-based technologies that have shown efficacy in accelerating cartilage and musculoskeletal soft tissue repair. Lastly, we are located at a biomedical epicenter and can offer research lab space and the capacity to house pre-clinical small (and large) animal models with built-in MRI and Gait acquisition capabilities.
NANOCHON Ben Holmes (
Washington, DC Our focus is to deliver highly-effective, off-the-shelf solutions that allow sports medicine physicians help their patients return to the activities that they love. Nanochon’s Chondrograft™ replaces lost or damaged cartilage and encourages new growth using innovative material and 3D printed designs. We are experts in tissue engineering, material science, advanced manufacturing, pre-clinical models, design and testing, and process/compliance. We also have deep clinical knowledge of challenges in joint health, cartilage restoration, and arthritis. We are seeking clinical collaborators, co-developers for additional indications and uses of our technology, and funding. Technical area 3: Allogeneic, Autogenous, Non-Immunogenic, Osteochondroinductive, and Load Bearing Total Replacement Joints;
Technical area 2: Needle-Based and/or Non-Invasive Cartilage Regeneration;
Technical area 1: Needle-Based and/or Non-Invasive Subchondral Bone Regeneration;
Nanochon can offer a promising technology that is prime for clinical development in the joint health space, offering substantial improvements for both clinical outcome and implementation/access.
Arthroba Samer Mabrouk (
Atlanta, GA Wearable medical devices to track changes in the knee joint physiology, kinetics and kinematics for patients receiving knee PRP injections. Our technolgy stemmed from Georgia Tech through DARPA funding. Our technology has shown great efficacy in tracking rheumatoid arthritis disease activity in patients receiving ultrashound therapy for RA. Our team also consists of orthopedic surgeons, biomechanics expert and rheumatologist. Our organization is looking for teams than can better utilize our technology to predict and improve treatment outcomes. We are also looking for partners that can help us build a larger dataset to improve our diagnostic and predictive algorithms. Technical area 2: Needle-Based and/or Non-Invasive Cartilage Regeneration; Our organization can offer objective metrics to track longitudinal outcomes of theraputics and better understand their mechanism of action, instead of relying on subjective info from patients.
Washington University School of Medicine Audrey McAlinden ( St Louis, MO RNA targeting approaches to treat skeletal conditions including osteoarthritis, heterotypic ossification and bone fracture. Specific focus on microRNAs and siRNAs. Strengths and experience in: 1) microRNAs and lentiviral approaches to modulate their expression in vitro and in vivo, 2) utilizing skeletal progenitor cells in chondrogenesis and osteogenesis assays in vitro; 3) mouse models of osteoarthritis, ulnar fracture repair, heterotopic ossification; 4) immunostaining and biochemical approaches to assess cartilage extracellular matrix production. Expertise in: 1) methods for intra-articular delivery of RNA; 2) bone regeneration assays; 3) designing large-scale screening approaches to determine genes/proteins/compounds with cartilage/bone regenerative capacity. *Note: My laboratory is currently collaborating with Dr. Hua Pan at Washington University (peptide-based nanoparticle approaches for RNA delivery) Technical area 1: Needle-Based and/or Non-Invasive Subchondral Bone Regeneration;
Technical area 2: Needle-Based and/or Non-Invasive Cartilage Regeneration;
Expertise in: 1) mouse models of osteoarthritis, 2) conditional mouse models to study genes/proteins in cartilage and bone tissue; 3) in vitro assays (osteogenesis, chondrogenesis, cartilage explant cultures of human osteoarthritic knee joint specimens); 3) microRNAs; 4) immuno/biochemical assessment of cartilage extracellular matrix composition.
University of Oregon Danielle Benoit (
Eugene, OR Developing therapeutic approaches (cell & drug delivery) to treat osteoarthritis and models of osteoarthritis for in vitro develop of these approaches. Regenerative medicine, including clinical translation, in musculoskeletal applications; unique in vitro development platforms, material technologies for cell and drug delivery Large animal models to hasten translation. Technical area 1: Needle-Based and/or Non-Invasive Subchondral Bone Regeneration;
Technical area 2: Needle-Based and/or Non-Invasive Cartilage Regeneration;
In vitro OA models formed with diverse patient samples; In vivo OA models; drug/cell delivery strategies (drugs - small molecules, nucleic acids).
University of Michigan Ivo Dinov ( Ann Arbor, MI The Statistics Online Computational Resource (SOCR) designs, validates and freely disseminates knowledge. SOCR invents, implements, confirms, and shares cutting-edge tools and end-to-end computational protocols for study design, mathematical modeling, probability inference, statistical computing, and artificial intelligence. Working with collaborators, these resources are applied in a wide range of applications from health discoveries to STEM education, technology-enhanced instruction, and predictive big data analytics. Collectively, SOCR Investigators have over 100 years of developing novel scientific methods, designing research studies, implementing advanced algorithms, engineering effective visualization tools, conducting basic STEM science research, and leading transdisciplinary biomedical research. SOCR investigators have consulted on hundreds of R&D projects and have developed powerful end-to-end protocols for collection, management, modeling, interpretation, and analysis of multi-source, heterogeneous, time-varying, incongruent, and incomplete datasets. SOCR is looking for ARPA-H investigators that have critical needs of quantitative expertise to model, interpret, analyze, interrogate, visualize, validate, and report on uncommon datasets that can’t be manipulated using traditional software and established analysis protocols. We are looking for clinical partners that have massive amounts of complex information that requires revolutionary techniques and radically different tools to extract actionable results from obfuscated information. For example, we seek partnerships with NITRO clinical research teams that collect high-dimensional imaging, complex clinical, deep-resolution whole genome sequences, and other phenotypic datasets. SOCR develops computational protocols to holistically analyze the data by modeling their native joint distribution. This is different from contemporary approaches that model independently each data type and then pool the inference at the end. Our approach is holistic, it’s applicable to both supervised and unsupervised AI learning, ensures scientific reproducibility, and ultimately leads to lasting and cost-effective results. Technical area 3: Allogeneic, Autogenous, Non-Immunogenic, Osteochondroinductive, and Load Bearing Total Replacement Joints;
Technical area 2: Needle-Based and/or Non-Invasive Cartilage Regeneration;
Technical area 1: Needle-Based and/or Non-Invasive Subchondral Bone Regeneration;
Contemporary scientific discovery rewards discoveries for their speed and presentaiton, rather than their quality and lasting impact. Over 70% of published scientific reports fail independent reproducibility tests and more than 50% of the scientists cannot replicate their own experiments (Nature, DOI: 10.1038/533452a). This significant crisis of reproducibility of highly-funded scholarly work requires a new approach, novel incentives, and collective efforts to increase the return on investment of our limited resources. SOCR will offer a platform to engage all stakeholders in setting the foundational guidepost principles for collective validation, independent reproducibility, and confirmatory scientific reporting of all new ARPA-H discoveries.
Queensland University of Technology Dr Indira Prasadam (
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia Our research is at the intersection of cell and gene therapies. We’re finding ways to regenerate damaged or dysfunctional tissue, repair cartilage defects.

Our research focuses on developing effective therapies using three key technology streams:

Cell-based and Cell free approaches
We are optimising therapy solutions that use stem cell and primary cell populations to repair cartilage tissues and also exploring the role of extra cellular vesicles derived from the stem cells and their ability to repair the cartilage.

Biomaterial approaches
We are developing 3D printing, additive manufacturing and hydrogel technologies to create scaffolds that support tissue repair, medical devices and high-resolution cultures designed to examine cell-to-cell interactions or screen drugs.

Cell and gene therapy
We are developing or applying gene editing technologies to increase the potency of cell therapies and coupling these technologies with recognised cell stem therapies.
We are experts in preclinical OA animal models, spatial imaging, advanced histology techniques, molecular work and and clinical trails. While it is acknowledged that cell therapies hold great promise for providing effective repair of cartilage defects and OA, at this time no cell therapy procedures have been proven safe and effective through clinical trial, nor have they been granted regulatory approval. Cartilage degeneration induces a pro-inflammatory environment, which reduces cell anabolic activity and promotes the adoption of pathological catabolic and senescent cell phenotypes, promoting further tissue degeneration and preventing repair. As a result, there is an urgent need for a solution that reduces joint inflammation during healing, restores tissue functionality by promoting anabolic processes, and prevents OA progression. Our previous studies suggest that extracellular vesicles (EVs) secreted from mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) carry biological factors implicated in the protection and regeneration of damaged cartilage tissues and supress the synovial inflammation. This project's ultimate goal is to create proprietary platform technologies of bioengineered EVs as a potential novel off-the-shelf effective therapeutic treatment for OA progression and pain reduction and optimize translational route towards safe and effective clinical development. We are looking for collaborators and partners interested in this concept. In particular expertise in bio-reactor scaling up of EVs, hydrogel based delivery of EVs and toxicity testing expertise. riti. Technical area 2: Needle-Based and/or Non-Invasive Cartilage Regeneration;
Technical area 1: Needle-Based and/or Non-Invasive Subchondral Bone Regeneration;
Dr Prasadam is a mid-career researcher and NHMRC investigator fellow and the programme head for stem cell and tissue engineering at QUT's Centre for Biomedical Technologies, as well as the group leader for Biomimetic technologies for cartilage regeneration and osteoarthritis. She has a well-established track record in the OA field, and she was crucial in establishing one of Australia's few facilities capable of performing world-class OA research using both clinical and preclinical models. Notably, she was instrumental in forging research collaborations between The Prince Charles Hospital and QUT. This collaboration is focused to conducting clinical investigations and clinical trials for OA research and has created a tissue collection of OA patients' knee/hip samples, synovium, and blood. At MERF/QUT, Dr. Prasadam developed standard techniques for analysing joint pain in rats developed cutting-edge spatial phenotyping of joint tissues, and it is this research capacity development and competence that is required to execute the proposed NITRO program initiative successfully.