Biology and Pathology Modeling lab
We seek to tackle human disease through a holistic combination of microtechnologies, biology and medicine. We have special interest in solid tumors, cancer metabolism, immunology, and tissue microenvironment.
We use advances in cell culture and biomedical engineering to generate sophisticated in vitro culture platforms that allow us to capture the complexity of biological systems. Our approach includes the use of microphysiological systems, 3D cell culture, patient-derived samples, multi-photon microscopy, transcriptomics, etc.
Who we are
We are a highly multidisciplinary group with interests in engineering, biology, physics, and medicine. We strive to answer biological and medical questions by leveraging our broad expertise.
Microtechnologies and tissue microenvironment – Using multiple microfabrication technologies, we generate advanced in vitro microphysiological platforms to mimic the tissue microstructure. Our microphysiological platforms include the presence of a 3D extracellular matrix, biomimetic blood and lymphatic vessels, and multiple cell types spatially organized. This approach allows us to generate systems that can mimic the stratified layers of the skin (e.g., epidermis, dermis) or the hypoxic and acidic environment of solid tumors.
Cancer Immunotherapy – The immune system plays a critical role in tumor progression. While the tumor can highjack immune cells to promote cancer progression, immune cells also have the potential to destroy cancer cells by several mechanisms. Additionally, solid tumors commonly generate an immunosuppressive environment that limits the capacity of the immune system to attack the tumor. Thus, we leverage our unique microphysiological platforms to study the complex interactions between the solid tumor and the immune system. We study how T and natural killer (NK) cells can destroy tumor cells; simultaneously, we also evaluate the mechanisms used by tumor cells to escape immunosurveillance.
Metabolism – Oxygen and nutrient availability is critical in numerous biological processes, from neuron physiology to the immune system and cancer progression. Our microphysiological platforms allow us to create in vitro systems that include multiple compartments with different metabolic microenvironments. Next, we use molecular and functional techniques to decipher how metabolism shapes these biological processes.
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