By continuing to use this site, you agree to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.

Engineering and Technology

Biomedical & Chemical Engineering Candidate Seminar: Erika Cyphert

February 6, 2023 at 3:00pm4:00pm EST

Bowne Hall, 414

The Department of Biomedical & Chemical Engineering is pleased to welcome faculty candidate Dr. Erika Cyphert from Cornell University in presenting her candidate seminar: “Microbes and Bone Health ‐ Friends or Foes?”


While pathogenic microbes are associated with poor health outcomes in orthopaedic surgery, recent findings have suggested that commensal gut microbes may be beneficial in promoting bone health. Novel biomaterial strategies to combat pathogenic microbes in periprosthetic joint infection will first be presented. To locally treat orthopaedic infections, antibiotics are directly incorporated into poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) bone cement. This strategy, however, results in insufficient elution of drug for treatment of chronic infections and few antibiotics are compatible. To address these limitations, a composite PMMA‐based material containing polymerized cyclodextrin (CD) microparticles was developed. PMMA‐CD composites were compatible with a broader range of antibiotics, able to treat chronic broad‐spectrum infections, and had the capacity to be refilled with drugs after implantation to provide additional windows of therapy. Next, associations between the composition of the gut microbiome and bone health in clinical and in vivo studies will be discussed. A prospective pilot study investigating the composition of the gut microbiome of spinal fusion surgery patients demonstrated that the microbiome differed among spinal fusion patients based on their bone mineral density. Finally, the relationship between microbiome composition, bone acquisition, and bone tissue strength was studied using an in vivo model. Male and female C56Bl/6 mice had their gut microbiota altered using oral antibiotics for different periods of time until six months of age. Findings suggested that the gut microbiome can influence bone tissue strength after skeletal maturity and that it may be possible to improve bone matrix later in life through the microbiome.


For more information, contact Prof. Zhen Ma at

This event was published on January 23, 2023.

Event Details