Designing dynamic materials
We are synthesizing materials, especially hydrogels, whose properties can be altered at any position or time. These property changes are induced with user controlled triggers, such as light or enzymes. These materials enable the selective alteration of properties for applications of interest, such as dynamic cell culture, therapeutic delivery, and regenerative medicine.
Understanding and directing complex tissue regeneration
We seek to understand key microenvironment cues in tissue regeneration, especially tissue interfaces. We utilize responsive materials to control chemical and physical cues, such as cytokines, integrin-binding ECM mimics, and modulus, to examine their individual and synergistic effects on cell function. We subsequently translate these findings to improve regeneration strategies. Problems of interest include the regeneration of the bone-ligament interface for enhanced anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction and of bone in patients with congenital or chronic disease.
Examining matrix regulation of cell quiescence, activation, and fate in disease
The extracellular matrix (ECM) plays a critical role in regulating cell quiescence and activation in tissue homeostasis and repair. However, when misregulated, disease can be permitted or promoted. We are examining the role of the ECM and its remodeling in disease, especially in breast cancer cell dormancy and re-activation and fibrosis. Additionally, we are utilizing extracellular and intracellular cues to direct cell differentiation for the creation of improved disease models.
- Pew Scholars Program in Biomedical Sciences
- National Science Foundation CAREER Award [DMR-1253906]
- NIH COBRE Discovery of Chemical Probes and Therapeutic Leads
- NIH COBRE Molecular Design of Advanced Biomaterials
- University of Delaware Research Foundation
- Burroughs Welcome Fund
- University of Delaware Startup