Research efforts in this lab mainly focus on two areas: Multifunctional Tissue/Organ Formation and Nanomedicine in Cancer. In alignment with both, efforts are also made to understand cell/matrix and cell/cell interaction and design multiscale biomaterials.
- Bottom-up construction of hierarchical tissues
- Microfluidic 3D tissue engineering
- Biomimetic materials design for cells
- Adipose stem cell differentiation regulated by biomimetic nanofibers
- Nanomedicine in Cancer
The use of nanotechnology in targeted drug delivery and controlled release is plausible and highlighted continuously. However, significant variation in therapy efficacy is also continuously observed among individuals. In situ monitoring of drug transport and its release will lead to the development of personalized medicine and therefore provide more precise treatment to minimize unwanted side effect and boost the treatment efficiency. This leads to our ongoing efforts to develop multifunctional nanocarriers with the capability of ultrasensitive detection/imaging and target delivery and use them for cancer therapy.
- Multifunctional Tissue/ Organ Formation
After decades of efforts from both academic and industrial researchers, a great mass of knowledge and tremendous progress has been made in tissue engineering, which has great potential in both regenerative medicine and as an in vitro testing platform. However, in creation of large tissues/organs with multiple functionalities and hierarchical structures, several challenges, e.g., vascularization and spatially controlled cell organization confound current tissue engineering strategy. Recognition of these challenges inspires our ongoing efforts in creating vasculature in tissue-engineered substitutes and the development of bottom-up tissue engineering. The former enables the free exchange of nutrient and gas across the large substitutes, and the latter allows straightforward manipulation of the spatial arrangement of multiple cell types and customization of the growth environment for individual cell type. Along with this endeavor, the configuration of a cell-friendly microenvironment is critical to guarantee the desirable cell phenotype, leading to functional tissue formation. In this regard, a biomimetic approach is taken in biomaterial design to maximally recapture the native cell-residing environment on a micro/nanoscale (Figure. 1).