John P. Biggerstaff is a research associate professor at the Center for Environmental Biotechnology at the University of Tennessee. He currently holds multiple adjunct academic positions within the university including research professor of the UT Graduate School of Genome Sciences and Technology, research associate professor in Biochemistry and Molecular and Cell Biology Department, research associate professor in the Microbiology and Nutrition departments, and research associate professor at joint UTK-UT Institute of Agriculture Obesity Research Center.
Biggerstaff’s range of research interests center on the role of blood coagulation, vascular biology, cell biology and cellular immunology in the causes and treatment of cancers, sepsis and inflammatory diseases such as obesity, asthma, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. He also uses biochemical analysis and advanced imaging techniques to assess the biocompatibility of medical implant devices to reduce adverse reactions in patients receiving blood oxygenation, stents, catheters and heart pumps. Through the UT Research Foundation, he has filed a disclosure (patent pending) on a discovery of a powerful therapeutic agent for cancer, cardiovascular disease, arthritis and inflammatory response. Biggerstaff and his team are conducting further studies at UT to deepen understanding of the potential of fibrin inhibition in immune based therapies in cancer and other diseases.
On a different blood-related topic, Biggerstaff, a world-class specialist in inflammation response and blood flow, is working with doctoral student Ben Curry on improving the biocompatibility of medical implant devices. Manufacturers of medical devices need better data on how their products interact with the body. Sometimes you want the body to interact positively with the system, but with other things such as oxygenators, you don’t want the body to react at all because blood flow can be altered and have deleterious effects on organs or even cause death, Biggerstaff says. As an undergraduate, Curry fell in love with the research and now is helping to refine what they believe is the most comprehensive set of tests in the country that assess the biocompatibility of medical implant devices. Biggerstaff says the application of this technology to new medical devices will save lives.
Biggerstaff has been an invited speaker on the subject of fibrin soluble fibrin and disease at a number of conferences and symposia including the Melanoma Research Foundation in 2007, the American Heart Association in 2009, and will present at the forthcoming British Society for Haemostasis and Thrombosis meeting in 2012. He is also a peer approved member of the American Society for Hematology.