Please note: The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio will now be called "UT Health San Antonio."

Search Program Faculty/Research

Chris Rathbone, Ph.D.



Developments in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine have the potential to dramatically improve outcomes for a wide variety of diseases and injuries. In particular, stem cell-based therapies have been successful in this realm, however, the development of a sufficient vascular supply limits their full potential. Broadly speaking, I am interested in improving the regeneration of tissue by utilizing tissue-engineering based strategies whereby vascular structures and stem cells are used in conjunction with scaffolds and growth factors. Previous experience working in government and industry research provided a valuable perspective on the need to make scientific advancements a clinical reality.

Muscle diseases and injuries represent one area where these concepts are applied. Traumatic acute muscle injuries that occur subsequent to severe trauma often result in a complete elimination of the necessary building blocks for tissue regrowth, i.e., stem/progenitor cells, growth factors, and matrices. With muscle wasting that occurs with chronic diseases and aging the building blocks are present, but their limited function and blood supply renders them unable to effectively maintain a homeostatic balance. Stated another way, acute muscle injuries will rely heavily on the delivery of stem cells, growth factors, and scaffolds to restore vasculature and regenerate skeletal muscle tissue de novo in an environment void of these elements, whereas muscle wasting may require therapies that take into consideration a limited microenvironment in a confined space. An effective approach to restore tissue perfusion and regenerative capacity of skeletal muscle for muscle compromised under both acute and chronic conditions is to utilize microvascular fragments (MVFs) derived from adipose tissue. MVFs have been demonstrated to be effective in restoring perfusion in a variety of models under very standard conditions. One of the objectives of my laboratory is to improve the use of MVFs by using a combinatorial approach where growth factors and biomaterials are incorporated to fully realize the regenerative potential of MVFs.

Selected Publications 

McDaniel JS, Pilia M, Raut V, Ledford J, Shiels SM, Wenke JC, Barnes B, Rathbone CR. Alternatives to autograft evaluated in a rabbit segmental bone defect. Int. Orthop. 2016 Jan;40(1):197-203

Rivera JC, Hsu JR, Noel SP, Wenke JC, Rathbone CR. Locally Delivered Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drug: A Potential Option for Heterotopic Ossification Prevention. Clin Transl Sci. 2015 Oct;8(5):591-3.

Garg K, Ward CL, Rathbone CR, Corona BT. Transplantation of devitalized muscle scaffolds is insufficient for appreciable de novo muscle fiber regeneration after volumetric muscle loss injury. Cell Tissue Res. 2014 Dec;358(3):857-73.

Pilia M, McDaniel J, Guda T, Chen XK, Rhoads RP, Allen RE, Corona BT, Rathbone CR. Transplantation and Perfusion of Microvascular Fragments in a Rodent Model of Volumetric Muscle Loss Injury. Eur Cell Mater. Jul 14;28:11-24, 2014.

McDaniel JS, Pilia M, Ward CL, Pollot BE, Rathbone CR. Characterization of cells derived from microvascular fragments. J Surg Res. May 24, 2014. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2014.05.047.

Corona BT, Rathbone CR. Accelerated functional recovery following skeletal muscle ischemia-reperfusion injury using freshly isolated bone marrow cells. J Surg Res. May 1;188(1) 100-9, 2014.

Elster JE, Rathbone CR, Liu Z, Liu X, Barrett H, Rhoads RP, and Allen RE. Skeletal muscle satellite cell migration to injured tissue measured with 111In-oxine labeling and high-resolution SPECT imaging. J Muscle Res Cell Motil. Dec;34(5-6):417-27, 2013.

Flann KL, Rathbone CR, Cole LC, Liu X, Allen RE, Rhoads RP. Hypoxia simultaneously alters satellite cell-mediated angiogenesis and hepatocyte growth factor expression. J Cell Physiol. May;229(5):572-9, 2014.

Corona BT, Wenke JC, Walters TJ, Rathbone CR. Intramuscular transplantation and survival of freshly-isolated bone marrow cells following skeletal muscle ischemia-reperfusion injury. J Trauma Acute Care Surg. Aug;75(2 Suppl 2):S142-9, 2013.

Corona BT, Garg K, Ward CL, McDaniel JS, Walters TJ, Rathbone CR. Autologous minced muscle grafts: A tissue engineering therapy for the volumetric loss of skeletal muscle. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. Oct 1;305(7):C761-75, 2013.

Wu, X, Rathbone CR. Satellite cell functional alterations following cutaneous burn in rats include an increase in their osteogenic potential. J Surg Res. Oct;184(2):e9-16, 2013.

Rathbone CR, Yamanouchi K, Chen X, Nevoret-Bell CJ, Rhoads RP and Allen RE. Effects of transforming growth factor -beta (TGF-?1) on satellite cell activation and survival during oxidative Stress. J Muscle Res Cell Motil. Sep;32(2):99-109, 2011.

Rathbone CR, Cross J, Brown K, Murray CK, Wenke JC. Effect of various concentrations of antibiotics on osteogenic cell viability and activity. J Orthop Res. 2011 Jul;29(7):1070-4), 2011

Assistant Professor

Department of Biomedical Engineering



Ph.D. University of Missouri-Columbia

M.S. Texas A&M University

B.A. University of Northern Iowa