Tissue engineering is an emerging field that aims at regeneration of natural tissues and the creation of new tissues using a combination of cells, biomaterials, biotechnology, engineering, and clinical medicine.
Cardiac tissue engineering
(a) Confocal cross-sectional images of the control group (top) and the 3L tissue constructs (bottom) after 2-days of culture. F-actin and cell nuclei were labeled with green and blue fluorescent dyes respectively. The 3T3 fibroblasts were found to connect the cells on the first layer to the cells on the second layer through non-continuous PLL-coated graphene oxide layer (red arrow, empty black area). (b) Hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) stain images of 3L 3T3 fibroblasts. The solid red lines indicate the interfaces between each layer. (c) Schematic illustration of the cross-section of the 2L construct showing the cells residing above and below the PLL-coated graphene oxide nanofilms.
Stem cell engineering
Stem cells have the unique ability of self-renewal as well as being able to give rise to differentiated cell types. Because stem cells can differentiate into diverse cell types, they have the potential to provide treatment for a wide variety of human diseases by providing functional tissues for therapy. The ability to control differentiation of stem cells can generate a renewable source of cells for regenerative medicine and be utilized in a wide array of applications including use as models of human disease. Stem cell differentiation is affected by a myriad of microenvironmental factors such as soluble growth factors, matrix components, and cell-cell contact molecules. One of the major challenges to using stem cell derived tissues is the ability to homogenously direct stem cell differentiation in a scalable manner. In our lab, a variety of BioMEMS techniques and materials are applied in order to control the cellular microenvironment. By regulating factors such as cell-cell interactions we are working to develop methods of creating controlled microenvironmental systems in which homogeneous differentiation of stem cells can occur.
We are using and developing state-of-art 3D bioprinting technologies to fabricate complex, complicated hierarchical 3D tissues and organs that recapitulate the structure and functionality of in vivo counterparts.
Photographs of the bioprinted templates (green) enclosed in GelMA hydrogels and the respective microchannels perfused with a fluorescent microbead suspension (pink). a) Planar bifurcating bioprinted templates in a GelMA hydrogel construct and (a-i) respective network after perfusion. b) 3d branching agarose templates embedded in a GelMA hydrogel construct and (b-i) resulting 3d branching network. c) 3d lattice template embedded in a GelMA hydrogel and (c-i) after perfusion. (scale bars 3 mm, microchannels have 500μm in diameter).