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Research

Nanotechnology-enabled nuclear reprogramming and cell therapies

Recent advances in nuclear reprogramming have opened up the possibility for the development of highly effective, patient-specific cell therapies. Current methodologies for reprogramming, however, face a number of translational hurdles, including heavy reliance on viral vectors, and the highly stochastic nature of current transfection methodologies. New technologies capable of mediating nuclear reprogramming through non-viral deterministic approaches are needed in order to facilitate the transition from lab bench to bedside. Our lab focuses on the development of virus-free nanotechnology-based approaches to controllably reprogram cells and tissues for regenerative medicine applications. 

Lab-on-a-Chip Platforms for Single-Cellular and Molecular Bio-Interrogation

Lab on a chip (LOC)-type systems are powerful tools for fundamental studies and analytics in a number of biomedical applications. Such systems can enable single-cellular and molecular biointerrogation with high spatial and temporal resolution. We have developed a number of novel LOC platforms for different applications, including cytotoxicity studies of chemicals and nanomaterials at the single cell level, and monitoring primary and metastatic tumor cell motility patterns under guided migration conditions.

Micro- and Nanofabricated Platforms for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine

Micro- and nanoscale technologies have been shown to offer unique capabilities to probe and recapitulate many aspects of the cellular microenvironment. This has had tremendous implications in different applications, including the development of massively parallel organoid cultures for drug discovery, and the fabrication of tissue engineering scaffolds for regenerative medicine. We have developed a number of system platforms that integrate both micro- and nanoscale components capable of modulating the assembly of microscale tissue subunits. In addition, we developed simpler protocols for the fabrication of 3D tissue engineering scaffolds with controlled geometry and chemistry at the micro- and nanoscale.

Materials Surface Engineering for Biomedical Applications

Micro- and nanoscale technologies have been consistently used to precisely modify the surface chemistry and/or topography of biomaterials. Nano- to microscale surface features, in particular, have the potential to strongly modulate cell behavior through topographical stimulation even in the absence of other chemical/biological cues. We have developed a number of approaches to modify the surface of implant materials to elicit favorable cellular responses.

Micro/Nanoscale Processing of Biomaterials for Novel Applications 

A number of biomaterials could exhibit very unique properties at the micro- and nanoscale. Being able to controllably manipulate such systems at such scale could enable a host novel applications. We have developed a number of simple processes to alter the micro/nanoscale properties of different materials for potential use in biomedical applications. These include modifying the nanocrystalline structure of a cement material for bone tissue engineering applications, and microtopographical manipulation of stimuli-responsive surfaces for cell culture applications among others.