Our research is focused on the application of biologically-active polysaccharide materials and adult stem cells to problems in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Materials of particular interest, include chitosan and the glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). We are currently examining their use as components of tissue scaffolds and bioactive surfaces in a number of tissue regeneration and tissue modeling projects.
We have developed modular materials platforms, based on polyelectrolyte microcapsules, that allow the rapid assembly of vascularized, 3D tissues in vitro. These pre-vascularized tissues can be transplanted and exhibit accelerated angiogenesis and integration with the host vasculature. Current application targets include engineering of regeneration approaches for bone and liver tissue.
In collaboration with the Childrens Hospital of Michigan, we are engineering transplantable heart valve tissue with the goal of reducing the number of surgies needed for replacement of defective heart valves and vessels in newborns. Modified chitosan is being used as the foundation for heart valve tissue scaffolds. The ultimate goal is to implant a living valve derived from the patients own tissue, that can grow and adapt as the child grows.
There is a current need to expand the quantity of liver tissue available for transplantation. We are developing technology to allow transplantation of hepatocytes and to facilitate their assembly and growth into a functional organ. Tissue engineering of implantable liver systems is limited in part by the high metabolism of this tissue and slow blood vessel growth in vivo. We are using computational fluid dynamic (CFD) modeling to design scaffolds that provide supplemental oxygenation of the incorporated cells in the short term and enhanced angiogenesis in the long term.
Hematopoietic Stem Cells (HSCs) are needed for restoration of bone marrow function and various cancer therapies. In our laboratory, synergism between matrix factors and cytokines is being studied to manipulate the balance between stem cell and growth and differentiation. Results are incorporated into perfusion bioreactor systems for high yield expansion of either HSCs or therapeutically valuable blood cells.
Postdoctoral, Harvard Medical School & Massachusetts General Hospital, 1994.
Ph.D., Wayne State University, Chemical Engineering, 1992.
M.S., Wayne State University, Chemical Engineering, 1987.
B.S., University of the West Indies, Chemical Engineering, 1984.