1. Microtissue Analysis and Engineering

In the body, different types of cells are packed in a highly organized hierarchical manner. Cells cultured on 2D dishes or even in 3D scaffold in a random way may not recapitulate their exact behavior in vivo. We are interested in high throughput engineering and analysis of microtissues (e.g. "organoids", acini etc.) that recapitulate certain physiological properties and functions of their counterparts in the body. We expect these microtissues will have broad applications for drug screening and drug resistance studies.

 

2. Immuno-invisible Surfaces

Surfaces play an enormous role in the interaction between the body and the implantable medical devices, ranging from hip replacement, vascular grafts to biosensors, pacemakers and cell encapsulation devices. In every case, the surfaces are recognized by the body as foreign and the body’s natural immune response to these foreign surfaces is a critical factor that determines the long term safety and function of the implants. We are interested in developing advanced surfaces that are completely invisible to the immune system. One hypothesis we are exploring is that a perfect, water-like surface would be immuno-invisible. We are trying to develop such a surface by combining surface chemistry and nano-fabrication.

 

3. Cell Therapies

Using cells, either obtained from donors, derived from stem cells or engineered and expanded from patients' own cells, as medicines holds great promise to treat many non-druggable/incurable diseases such as type 1 diabetes, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. We are interested in two aspects of the cell therapies: immuno-isolation and therapeutic cell expansion.