Bioinspired advanced functional materials with multiscale property control

We are designing molecularly engineered soft materials inspired by nature and that integrate hierarchical structures and responsiveness for probing and directing complex biological systems.  We are applying nano-, micro-, and macro-scale tools to interrogate their properties and related biological responses.  This work is enabled by materials initiatives at the University of Delaware (UD), including the UD Center for Hybrid, Active, and Responsive Materials (UD CHARM).

Engineered multidimensional culture model systems to study human disease and tissue regeneration

We are designing well-defined, multidimensional culture models with different levels of complexity and applying them for understanding and ultimately directing tissue regeneration and disease, with a focus on wound healing, fibrosis, and dormancy/reactivation in late cancer recurrence. These systems are informed by and benchmarked against pre-clinical animal models and clinical observations utilizing biomolecular tools, where we aim to establish new mechanistic understanding, identify therapeutic targets, and evaluate treatment strategies. Further, with the RASTRUM bioprinter, we are translating our model systems and creating new ones that accessible and high throughput. This work is enabled by academic, medical, and industrial collaborations, including the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center, MLI at UNC-Chapel Hill, and Inventia Life Science.

Biomaterial-driven therapeutic strategies for improving human health

We are integrating well-defined, soft biomaterials within devices to create systems for the delivery of therapeutics and production of cell therapies.  Our efforts include generating injectable hydrogel microparticles for combination therapies and biomanufacturing of cell therapies.  This work is enabled by academic and industrial collaborations, including through the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL).

We are grateful for the support for our work including from

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • UD CHARM, a National Science Foundation (NSF) Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC)
  • Delaware Biotechnology Institute (DBI) Bioscience Center for Advanced Technology (CAT) Program