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Research

Research 

Our Nanomedicine and Tissue Engineering lab applies a range of interdisciplinary technologies and approaches in nanotechnology, 3D nano/microfabrication, tissue engineering, stem cells, drug delivery and biomechanics to create biologically inspired tissue and organ constructs and investigate their efficacy for healing complex tissues and organs in vitro and in vivo.

3D/4D Bioprinting for Complex Tissue and Organ Regeneration 

As an emerging tissue manufacturing technique, 3D bioprinting offers great precision and control of the internal architecture and outer shape of a scaffold, allowing for close recapitulation of complicated structures found in biological tissue. In addition, 4D bioprinting is a highly innovative additive manufacturing process to fabricate pre-designed, self-assembly structures with the ability to transform from one state to another directly off the bioprinter. The term “4D” refers to the time-dependent dynamic process triggered by specific stimulation according to predesigned requirements. Currently, we focus on integrating advanced 3D/4D bioprinting techniques and novel biologically inspired nano or smart bioinks to fabricate the next generation of complex tissues (such as vascular, neural, cartilage, and osteochondral tissues) and organs (heart and brain).

Biologically Inspired Nanomaterials

Since natural tissue is mainly nanometer in dimension and various cells directly interact with nanostructured extra-cellular matrices, the biomimetic features and excellent physiochemical properties of nanomaterials play a key role in guiding various tissue repair and regeneration. Our lab has designed a series of innovative biologically inspired nanomaterials including nanotubes, nanofibers, nanospheres and nanoparticles which can mimic the natural nanostructured and hierarchical tissue extra-cellular matrix to provide a biomimetic environment for cell growth and tissue regeneration.

Stem Cell Therapy for Tissue Regeneration 

As promising progenitor cells for tissue regeneration, stem cells can self renew and differentiate into multiple cell types and tissues in human body. One of the main challenges in current stem cell research is how to selectively differentiate and effectively deliver stem cells into favorable cell types at injury sites in order to regenerate desirable tissue. We are interested in controlling stem cell differentiation and developing engineered stem cell based scaffolds for tissue regeneration. Various nano to micro-structured scaffolds are fabricated in the lab for controlling stem cell differentiation.

Sustained and Targeted Drug Delivery Systems for Biomedical Applications 

In this project, we are interested in developing more efficacious nano drug delivery systems and investigating their drug loading efficiency and long-term drug release rates for various biomedical applications.

Novel 3D in vitro Bone Model for Cancer Metastasis Study and Treatment

We are currently using our extensive expertise in 3D bioprinting and nanotechnology to manufacture novel nanostructured cancer bone models for cancer metastasis study and new therapeutic discovery. In addition, we apply an emerging technique--cold non-thermal atmospheric plasma to address the limitations of current cancer and chemotherapy treatments.

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