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Dr Stephanie Bryant - Biomimetic Hydrogel Niches: Understanding Biophysical and Biochemical Cues to Promote Integration and Functional Tissue Regeneration

Date: 23 January 2012   Time: 16:00 - 17:00

Dr Stephanie Bryant is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA.
She will be working in SEMS for the next three months, as a Leverhulme Visiting Academic.
Her seminar is an opportunity to find out about her research and possible avenues of collaboration.

Biomimetic Hydrogel Niches: Understanding Biophysical and Biochemical Cues to Promote Integration and Functional Tissue Regeneration

In this seminar, I will highlight some of our recent efforts in the area of tissue engineering. While emerging technologies such as tissue engineering offer exciting alternative therapies to tissue and organtransplantation, many challenges remain with respect to engineering functional tissues. These shortcomings are largely due to a lack of understanding of how cells respond to their three-dimensional environment. Towards engineering functional tissues, our group investigates the effects of various biophysical and biochemical cues through a combination of biomimetically engineered three dimensional hydrogels, bioreactors, and the in vivo environment. For example, we combine novel hydrogel architectures and chemistries with mechanical loading to capture the complex environment in musculoskeletal (e.g., cartilage, bone, tendon) and muscle (e.g., skeletal and cardiac) tissues to identify optimalcues for engineering these tissues. While synthetic environments allow for controlling the cellular niche with high fidelity, they pose significant problems when implanted in vivo, initiating a foreign body reaction. Our research shows that this reaction can have a negative impact on cells in a tissue engineering scaffold. As such, we are investigating new strategies that can alter this adverse reaction by manipulating macrophages at the biomaterial-host interface, which are the inflammatory cells that orchestrate the host reaction to foreign materials. Together, our research program aims to provide new insights into how biophysical and biochemical cues from the scaffold, external mechanical forces, and the in vivo environment ultimately impact the behavior of cells and then to use this information to design advanced strategies for growing living tissues.

Location:  Engineering First Floor, UPC
Contact:  Jonathon Hills
Email:  j.hills@qmul.ac.uk