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Bioengineering Seminar Series: Jennie Leach
Friday, November 6, 2009
11:00 a.m.
Room 2108, Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Bldg.
For More Information:
Professor John Fisher
jpfisher@umd.edu

New Technologies for Directing and Analyzing Cell Response to Engineered 3D Environments

Presented by Jennie Leach
Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor
Department of Chemical & Biochemical Engineering
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Efforts to engineer complex tissue therapies will be dramatically improved by a detailed understanding of how cells interact with their dynamic 3D environments. The effect of 3D matrix properties on cell behavior is still a relatively unexplored research field; as such, we lack design rules for engineering biomaterial scaffolds that effectively instruct cell response. Our work focuses on developing a detailed toolbox to manipulate biomaterials and cellular response in order to (1) study cell-matrix interactions underlying disease and (2) engineer functional tissue replacement therapies. Recent areas of research include the development of new technologies tuning the physicochemical properties of hydrogel tissue scaffolds and monitoring cellular response and microenvironmental cues (e.g., oxygen concentration) within 3D biomaterials. In applications of these technologies, we are interested in understanding how the physical nature of a 3D scaffold impacts cell behavior. For example, invasive cellular processes, such as nerve regeneration and cancer metastasis, critically rely on cells to migrate through and remodel of their 3D environment. It is not well understood, however, how these processes are impacted by the density or porosity of the material surrounding the cells. Furthermore, how do matrix degradability and stiffness mediate this response? Are physical properties of the matrix complementary or secondary to the biochemical cues in the cellular environment? By examining how physical properties impact neural and tumor cell behavior, we aim to formulate innovative therapeutic strategies for treating neurodegenerative disease and cancer.

This Event is For: Graduate • Faculty • Post-Docs

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