Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
Bringing innovation and community together to advance animal and human health
Comparative Biology & Experimental Medicine (CBEM)
Department of Surgery, Cumming School of Medicine
+1 (403) 210-7306
Dr. Biernaskie is an Assistant Professor of Stem Cell Biology and course lecturer in developmental neurobiology, cell biology, embryology and is also the coordinator for the graduate course in Regenerative Medicine. His research focuses on dermal stem cells located within hair follicles and exploiting these cells to develop novel therapies for improved wound healing after burn injury. His lab also studies peripheral glial cell biology and development of treatments for improved nervous system repair.
VET702 – Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine (Course Coordinator & Instructor)
The general interest of the Biernaskie lab is in tissue regeneration and the role of endogenous stem cells in mediating this process. Although the developing embryo and even neonatal mammals exhibit remarkable tissue regeneration, this capacity is rapidly lost with age. One exception to this is the hair follicle, which is uniquely able to regenerate itself, and do so without formation of scar tissue (much like embryonic tissues). This capacity is dependent on the presence of multiple stem cell populations that interact to rebuild the hair follicle. This lab is specifically interested in a multipotent stem cell that resides in the dermal component of follicles. These cells function to initiate hair follicle regeneration and may also contribute to maintenance and repair of the skin throughout life. Their goal is to understand how these adult stem cells are maintained within their specialized hair follicle micro-environment (or ‘niche') and how they are activated during hair follicle regeneration and following injury. They hope that by understanding how resident stem cells are regulated in adult tissues they will then be able to exploit these precursors and enhance the body's natural mechanisms of repair/regeneration following injury or disease. They are also interested in neural stem cell biology and their potential utility for remyelination and treatment for demyelinating diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis. They utilize transgenic mice, primary cell and tissue culture, and in vivo transplantation techniques to study these processes.