Scientists in the Cell and Tissue Engineering Cluster are inspired to better understand fundamental principles of cell biology and exploit this knowledge to regenerate tissues and treat debilitating human diseases. These efforts are supported by the daily interaction among basic scientists, engineers, and clinicians that creates an environment to innovate and discover. Current lab groups focus in the areas of tissue engineering, the role of tissue remodeling in the progression of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, and human pluripotent stem cell and cancer stem cell biology.
Tissue engineering projects include design and fabrication of biomaterials as cell, protein or gene delivery devices, genetic engineering to direct cell and protein activity, and the development of multi-tissue interfaces. The metabolic modeling group focuses on the role of extracellular matrix remodeling (ECM) in the regulation of metabolism. By using genetically modified mouse models, three-dimensional (3-D) tissue culture, they work to define the molecular mechanism by which 3-D ECM remodeling regulates transcription, differentiation, and metabolic function in vitro and in vivo. Projects in the pluripotent stem cell group focus on how constituents of cell signaling pathways regulate transcription factors to balance self-renewal and cell differentiation in both human embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells. The cancer stem cell group has elucidated a number of intrinsic and extrinsic pathways that regulate self-renewal and cell fate decisions in cancer stem cells and is translating these pre-clinical research findings into the development of clinical trials designed to target breast cancer stem cells.
Through the bridging disciplines, model systems, and emerging technologies, collaborators in the Cell and Tissue Engineering Cluster of the Biointerfaces Institute “do a lot of cool things.”