Tissue-engineered constructs that are inexpensive, customizable, easily/rapidly fabricated, and made from accessible materials are required to improve in vitro organ models and clinical tissue replacement therapies. To provide these capabilities, we are researching and characterizing a variety of new systems for rapidly fabricating tissue-engineered constructs.
The use of cells and materials that are engineered to respond to environmental factors provides the opportunity to incorporate dynamic tuning in tissue-engineered constructs to mitigate undesirable microenvironmental factors and promote integration with surrounding tissue. We are developing hydrogel systems and genetically modified cells that can be easily modulated by external stimuli (e.g., temperatutre, magnetic fields, ultrasound, or biochemical factors) for use as next-generation biomaterials.
Aqueous two-phase systems (ATPSs) form when solutions of two incompatible polymers are mixed together at high enough concentrations. These system have traditionally been used for biomolecule and bioparticle separation from crude mixtures. We are exploring the fundamental physicochemical properties of a variety of newly-discovered ATPSs. We are also exploring additional applications for these interesting polymer systems in biopatterned cell based assays and high throughput biomolecular assays.