Tissue-engineered vascular models

Understanding the complex interactions between cells and their microenvironment is key to understanding tissue function in health and disease. Building on advances in stem cell engineering, microfabrication, and biomaterials, we are using a reverse engineering approach to develop tissue-engineered models to study the phenotype and function of vascular interfaces. The reductive reverse engineering approach provides the foundations and building blocks necessary to simulate and assemble complex biological components and functional tissues.

Blood-brain barrier

The blood-brain barrier (BBB) includes the 600 km network if capillaries that regulate transport into and out of the human brain. To contribute to the emerging understanding of the link between BBB health and brain health, we are developing tissue-engineered models of the BBB to study the physiological and pathological responses to chemical, physical, and biological perturbations associated with neurodegenerative diseases, stroke, aging, and infectious disease.

The tumor microenvironment

Metastasis, which is responsible for more than 90% of cancer-related deaths, involves a sequence of dynamic steps including invasion, intravasation, arrest, extravasation, and colonization at a secondary site. We are developing tissue-engineered models of the tumor microenvironment to visualize tumor/vasculature interactions, the mechanisms of dissemination, and to explore strategies for drug delivery.