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Engineering and Technology

BMCE Faculty Candidate: Developing Microengineered Platforms for Cell Vascularization, Encapsulation, and Differentiation

January 6, 2020 at 9:30am10:30am EST

Bowne Hall, 414

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Wei Song, Ph.D., Semma Therapeutics, is a candidate for a faculty position in the Department of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering. The position is part of the cluster hiring initiative in the BioInspired Institute.

Abstract: Stem cells-derived functional cells are promising in cell therapy to cure diseases such as type 1 diabetes (T1D). To fully realize the therapeutic potential, we must probe the cell-microenvironment interactions, protect the cells from immune attack, and provide implants with sufficient vasculature to ensure cell viability and function. Here I present unique microengineered platforms to vascularize and encapsulate therapeutic cells for T1D and liver diseases, and to manipulate cell morphology and differentiation. In the first part of the presentation, I introduce the development of cell vascularization and encapsulation. To vascularize devices and islets, we devised a micropillar-based, anchored self-assembly strategy to fabricate controllable, transferrable, and scalable microvascular meshes for potential application in cell therapy for T1D. Moreover, we electrospun a novel nanofiber micropattern-framed hydrogel by leveraging the conductivity and ductility of low-melting alloy. Human embryonic stem cell-derived pancreatic progenitors (hESC-PPs) were encapsulated in the mechanically enhanced nanofiber composite hydrogel. The second part of the presentation describes the 3D co-aggregation and encapsulation of human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived hepatocytes (iPSC-Hep). Taking advantage of microwell and electrospray techniques, we generated microencapsulated iPSC-Hep aggregates with uniform size, and demonstrated the engraftment, maturation, and hepatic functions of iPSC-Hep in a mouse model. The third part of the presentation focuses on the development of photo-reactive polymers and micropatterns. Using UV photolithography, we created diverse micropatterns on cell-culture dishes, controlled morphology of individual human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs), and analyzed differentiation of hMSCs at the single-cell level. The discoveries derived from our work will lead to a deeper understanding of cell niches and a more translational development of vascularized/encapsulated cells for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

This event was first published on January 6, 2020 and last updated on January 10, 2020.

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