Designing multifunctional materials

cover art showing Hierarchically structured hydrogels

We are designing molecularly engineered materials with spatially-defined structures and whose properties can be altered at positions or times of interest.  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.

Examining matrix regulation of cell quiescence, activation, and fate in disease

cover art illustrating breast cancer dormancy or activation in response to different matrix properties

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/re-activation and cell activation in fibrosis.

Understanding and directing complex tissue regeneration and Establishing improved treatment strategies

illustration of recent efforts in directing cell-matrix interactions and therapeutic delivery

We seek to understand and direct key microenvironment cues in tissue regeneration and disease treatment. We utilize well-defined, responsive materials to control biochemical and biophysical cues, such as cytokines, integrin-binding ECM mimics, and matrix modulus, to examine their individual and synergistic effects on cell function. We subsequently translate these findings to improve regeneration and treatment strategies, as well as to aid in the production of cell-based therapies.

We are grateful for the current and prior support for our work including