Biomarker Candidates of Intervertebral Disc Degeneration: From Systemic Inflammation To Cell Biomechanics

Lecture / Panel
For NYU Community

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Department Seminar Series

Nadeen O. Chahine, PhD
The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research,
Hofstra North Shore LIJ School of Medicine, Manhasset, NY

Low back pain is a leading cause of disability worldwide and the second most common cause of physician visits. There are many causes of back pain, and among them, disc herniation and intervertebral disc degeneration are the most common diagnoses and targets for intervention. Currently, clinical treatment outcomes are not strongly correlated with diagnoses, emphasizing the importance for characterizing more completely the mechanisms of degeneration and their relationships with symptoms. This presentation will describe studies elucidating cellular and molecular changes associated with disc mechanobiology, as it relates to degeneration and regeneration. We are investigating the role of inflammatory disease mechanisms in triggering and mediating degeneration and cellular mechanobiology. Moreover, we are investigating the utility of circulating cytokine profiles as biomarker of disc disease. Studies described in this presentation provide greater insights into the pathogenesis of disc degeneration and may define new paradigms for early or differential diagnostics of degeneration. Research on the mechanobiology of disease enriches the development of therapeutics including tissue engineering approaches for disc repair, with potential to diminish pain and disability associated with disc degeneration.


Dr. Nadeen Chahine is an Associate Investigator at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, and Director of the Bioengineering-Biomechanics Laboratory, in the Center for Autoimmune and Musculoskeletal Diseases.  She is also an Associate Professor of Molecular Medicine, Neurosurgery and Orthopedic Surgery at the Hofstra North Shore LIJ School of Medicine.  She obtained her undergraduate degrees in Biomedical Engineering at Boston University (2000), and completed her Ph.D. at Columbia University in the Musculoskeletal Biomechanics and Cellular Engineering Laboratories (2006).  Dr. Chahine was an Ernest Lawrence Post Doctoral Fellow at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, with research emphasis on micro and nanotechnology (2006-2008). In 2009, Dr. Chahine founded the Bioengineering-Biomechanics lab, where her group focuses on degeneration and regeneration of musculoskeletal tissues particularly intervertebral disc, tendons, and articular cartilage. Dr. Chahine’s team uses tools of bioengineering, cell and tissue biomechanics, animal physiology, and human subjects research to study the mechanobiology of musculoskeletal tissues, with emphasis on inflammation.  Dr. Chahine is a member of the Biomedical Engineering Society, Orthopedic Research Society, and Bioengineering Division of American Society for Mechanical Engineers. She is the recipient of an NSF CAREER award (2012) and Rising Star Award (BMES Cell and Molecular Bioengineering, 2013), and the Refractions Scientific Achievement Award (2015).  Dr. Chahine is an associate editor of Bioelectronic Medicine, and a member of the editorial review board for Journal of Orthopedic Research.