The Ambati lab is using gene therapy and drug delivery strategies to develop treatments for blinding diseases, such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and Fuchs' dystrophy. We solved the long-outstanding mystery of what keeps the cornea normally free of blood vessels, identifying the protein sVEGFR-1 as the prime mediator of this requirement for clear vision. The team has applied this knowledge in developing novel inhibitors sequestering VEGF, the key linchpin of angiogenesis, within cells, complementing the existing drugs. By using targeted nanoparticles, adeno-associated viruses, and CRISPR technology, our interventional strategies should enhance selectivity and duration of therapeutic impact.
The Therapeutic Biomaterials Lab works at the interface of medicine and engineering, with an emphasis on precisely controlling biomaterial functionality and architecture to treat diseases, control cell behavior, or answer fundamental biological questions. Our overall hypothesis is that by using bottom-up approaches, we can design ‘smart’ materials with distinct capabilities, such as controlling cell behavior or overcoming delivery barriers.
Emerging manufacturing processes are at the heart of the DaltonLab, to produce advanced biomedical materials that can be translated to an application. We specialize in melt electrowriting, but also hybridize other advanced processes to create new objects with distinct properties that outperform existing gold standards. In particular, we work with 3D printing technologies towards full digitization of biomaterials, allowing rapid research cycles and innovative biomedical products.
The Deku lab is interested in developing materials, devices, and therapeutic approaches for neural interfacing but is driven by the vision of developing treatments for specific unmet clinical needs. The lab interests are in the design, development, and characterization of next-generation electrode materials and high-density flexible probes for neural stimulation and recording with a particular focus on materials and interface engineering. The lab develops novel microfabrication techniques that enable high throughput manufacturing of miniaturized thin-film arrays, studies the electrochemical properties and chronic stability of microelectrodes, investigates methods of monolithic integration of thin-film arrays, and packaging of microsystems.
The Gardner lab is focused on engineering methods for micron-resolution 3D printing and laser microfabrication. We apply this technology within the lab to make biomedical implants that interface with the brain, peripheral nervous system, and other organs. A branch of the lab is focused on basic research in systems neuroscience and vocal learning in songbirds in particular. This work is focused on establishing stable long-term interfaces with the brain through electrophysiology and cellular scale imaging.
The focus of the Guldberg lab is musculoskeletal tissue regeneration. Our primary research areas include development, pre-clinical evaluation and translation of medical devices and treatments for traumatic musculoskeletal injury and osteoarthritis. We also explore the dependence of musculoskeletal regeneration on local mechanical and immune environments.
The Hettiaratchi lab combines expertise in polymer chemistry, chemical engineering, and biomedical engineering to design biomaterials to precisely deliver proteins to injured tissues. Areas of interest include cell-instructive biomaterials, protein engineering, musculoskeletal and neural tissue regeneration, protein-material interactions, directed evolution, and predictive bio-transport modeling.
The Hosseinzadeh lab uses an interdisciplinary approach at the intersection of biology, chemistry, and computer science to: (a) Gain a better understanding of complex biological systems by predicting modeling the structural behavior of peptides in solution, (b) Develop new modular tools for synthetic biology such as orthogonal controllable dimers, (c) Develop novel solutions for biomedical challenges of the 21st century such as peptide-based therapeutics, novel modular biosensors and new enzymes. Our lab is inspired by scientific questions and is dedicated to improving inclusivity, equity, and diversity in STEM.
The Lindberg lab develops cell-instructive bioinks/bioresins that mimics the native architectural organization and biological niche, capable of adapting to the constantly changing micro-environment as the new tissue is forming. The convergence of smart chemical and biological toolkits with biofabrication provides a starting point for robust and patient-specific in vitro models and organoids. We apply these technologies to study both healthy musculoskeletal tissue formation, integration and disease progression. This provides a stepping-stone between the laboratory and clinic that can account for patient variability as well as highly inflammatory environments when developing new musculoskeletal treatments.
The Ong Lab focuses on the development of new sensors and devices for medical applications, with emphasis on regenerative medicine for orthopedic care. We are developing orthopedic devices with sensing and actuating capabilities to monitor the healing conditions and provide mechanical loads to maximize bone/tendon regeneration. We are also developing wearable devices that can continuously track forces and motions of the user, allowing biofeedback in orthopedic therapy and monitoring of athlete performance. Another example of our research is the ongoing development of a new sensor system that can continuously track the microenvironment of cells in a bioreactor.
The Plesa Lab focuses on accelerating the pace at which we understand and engineer biological protein-based systems by enabling large scale studies. Towards this end, we develop new technologies for gene synthesis, multiplex functional assays, in-vivo mutagenesis, genotype-phenotype linkages, and computational approaches to explore high-dimensional datasets of sequence-function relationships. These allow us to access the huge sequence diversity present in natural systems as well as carry out testing of rationally designed hypotheses encoded onto DNA at much larger scales than previously possible. Applications include protein engineering of biosensors, fluorescent proteins, antibodies, and studying antibiotic resistance.
The Willett Regenerative Labs works on the development of regenerative engineering and rehabilitation therapies for musculoskeletal injury and disease. The three main thrusts of our work are cell and biologic therapies for the healing of large bone and muscle defects, multi-scale mechanical regulation and rehabilitation of bone and cartilage regeneration, and intra-articular therapeutic delivery for post-traumatic osteoarthritis. We focus on addressing gaps in the translation of regenerative technologies by developing enabling technology platforms, understanding critical quality attributes of these therapies, and investigating post-intervention rehabilitation strategies to enhance the functional integration of the therapies.