Biology and Pathology Modeling lab
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.
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.
A role for microfluidic systems in precision medicine. Nature Communications. 2022.
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.
Microfluidic lumen-based systems for advancing tubular organ modeling. Chem Soc Rev, 2020.
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.
Microphysiological system showing a patient-derived tumor spheroid embedded in a 3D hydrogel with fibroblasts, T, and NK cells.
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.
|Jose Ayuso, PhD
Jose M Ayuso Dominguez (Jose) – Principal Investigator – Jose graduated at the University Autonoma of Madrid (Spain) in 2010 (B.S in Biochemistry). In 2012, he obtained his M.S in Biophysics at the same institution and move to the University of Zaragoza where he got his PhD in Biomedical Engineering in 2016. He moved to Madison, WI supported by a Morgridge fellowship to continue his postdoctoral studies. In 2022, he accepted a faculty position at the dermatology department as an assistant professor, he also is an affiliated member of the department of biomedical engineering. Jose leveraged advanced in vitro microphysiological systems to study cancer biology, immunotherapy, cell metabolism, or infectious diseases.
| Kitty Reed-McBain
Catherine Reed-McBain (Kitty) – Research technician – Kitty graduated from King’s College London in 2019 with an MSc in Neuroscience and is currently enrolled in graduate school at the University of Edinburgh, focusing on Stem Cells and Translational Neurology. Kitty is especially interested in leveraging microphysiological models to investigate central nervous system damage, interactions between the immune system and circadian rhythms, and immunotherapy for immunocompromised patients. In her free time, Kitty enjoys international travel and walking her dogs by the lake.
|Cristina Sanchez De Diego
Cristina Sanchez De Diego – Postdoctoral Fellow – Cristina graduated at the University of Barcelona in 2021. Her research interests include cell differentiation, specially focused on the link between metabolism, nuclear transcription reprograming, and cell fate decision. Currently she is developing microphysiological models to study new therapies for sarcoidosis. Cristina loves being outdoors, when she is not in the lab you can find her climbing, hiking, or biking around Madison.
|Sara Abizanda Campo
Sara Abizanda Campo – Graduate student – Sara graduated at the University of Zaragoza (Spain) and at Trinity College University of Dublin (Ireland) with a major in biotechnology, where her interest in immunology began. She completed a Master of Sciences and took a training course in Oncoimmunology and Cancer Immunotherapy. Currently, she is studying the response of different immunotherapies against glioblastoma, the most frequent and lethal brain tumor in adults, using organ-on-chip and 3D cultures. She is passionate about mountaineering, camping, and reading.
Sireesh Teertam – Sireesh’s Ph.D. is in neurodegenerative disorders. The complex network of the neurovascular unit and astrocyte functional diversity in response to stress always amazes Sireesh. One of Sireesh major research questions is to understand how different signaling pathways in the skin, the largest organ in the human body, produce neoplastic growth and senescence with the help of bioengineering. Sireesh enjoys learning about cultural diversity, cooking, and reading.
Graduate Student – Rithvik graduated from The Ohio State University in 2022 with a B.S in Biomedical Engineering and is currently enrolled as a Ph.D. student in Biomedical Engineering at UW-Madison. Rithvik is interested in studying 3D modeling platforms to understand diseases and identify potential therapeutics. In particular he is interested in applying these models to cancer and auto-immune diseases. Currently, Rithvik is focused on developing a microphysiological model to study sarcoidal granulomas. Outside of lab, he is passionate about soccer and enjoys watching movies.
Undergraduates & Volunteers
We are looking for curious and enthusiastic undergraduate and graduate students to join our team! If you want to work in a multidisciplinary lab, combining engineering, physics, and biology to tackle medical problems, contact Jose directly (email@example.com).
(For research-related inquiries only. Patients and others with medical questions should call 608-287-2620)
1111 Highland Avenue
WIMR Room 3003
Madison WI, 53705