Tissue engineering and regeneration

Cardiac tissue engineering - Cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death in industrialized nations. To date, heart transplantation is the only treatment for patients with end-stage heart failure. Cardiac tissue engineering provides an alternative approach by combining cardiomyocytes and 3D biomaterials to create a functional cardiac patch. Later, the cardiac patch is implanted to restore cardiac function. Our lab develops technologies to improve the function of engineered cardia patches by methods such as mimicking the natural ECM of the heart, improving scaffold conductivity and developing novel biomaterials for tissue engineering.

Cell–matrix interaction
Cell–matrix interaction

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Effect of fiber orientation
Effect of fiber orientation

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Modular assembly of thick multifunctional cardiac patches.
Modular assembly of thick multifunctional cardiac patches.

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Cell–matrix interaction
Cell–matrix interaction

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Personalized Spinal Cord implant x4
Personalized Spinal Cord implant x4

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Spinal cord implant. Blue: hoechst; green: TUJ; red: HB9
Spinal cord implant. Blue: hoechst; green: TUJ; red: HB9

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Spinal cord injury repair
Spinal cord injury repair

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Personalized Spinal Cord implant x4
Personalized Spinal Cord implant x4

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Engineering spinal cord implants - Adult neuronal tissues have a limited regeneration capacity, especially after a specific damage such in the case of spinal cord injury (SCI). Those cases often lead to degeneration of the tissues, to their failure and death. SCI disrupts the signaling along the spinal cord causing different levels of loss of function. The damage caused by the injury is progressive, leading to a cascade of neuronal death, coupled with changes in the cellular microenvironment. This leads to a scar tissue formation and ECM remodeling, impeding the ability of the resident cells to regenerate. Our lab develops spinal cord implants from a thermoresponsive hydrogel combined and iPSC-derived spinal cord neurons to create functional spinal cord implants, which when implanted can bridge the scar tissue formed following SCI.

Engineering dopaminergic implants - One of the most challenging neurodegenerative disorders is Parkinson's disease (PD) with over 10 million people affected worldwide. PD characteristics are the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra, coupled with a motoric disorder. Many dopamine replacement treatments exist with beneficial motor result; however, they cause adverse effects due to their non-physiological nature and off-target release. Another promising strategy to handle such ailment is cell-based therapies. Here, dopaminergic cells are injected into the desired site to regain function.  Our lab develops dopaminergic implants containing iPSC-derived dopaminergic neurons. In addition to their ability to secrete dopamine, the lab develops methods to increase dopamine production by incorporation of inorganic nanoparticle within their differentiation matrix.

Dopaminergic implants for PD. Green:NFM; blue: SYP; red: MAP2
Dopaminergic implants for PD. Green:NFM; blue: SYP; red: MAP2

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Dopaminergic implants for PD. Blue: SYP; green: NFM; red: MAP2
Dopaminergic implants for PD. Blue: SYP; green: NFM; red: MAP2

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Dopaminergic implants for PD. Blue: TH. green: TUJ; red: FOXA2
Dopaminergic implants for PD. Blue: TH. green: TUJ; red: FOXA2

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Dopaminergic implants for PD. Green:NFM; blue: SYP; red: MAP2
Dopaminergic implants for PD. Green:NFM; blue: SYP; red: MAP2

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Injection of orbital MSCs encapsulated in hydrogel to treat AMD
Injection of orbital MSCs encapsulated in hydrogel to treat AMD

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Orbital MSCs encapsulated in ECM-based hydrogel. Blue: Hoechst; green: CD105
Orbital MSCs encapsulated in ECM-based hydrogel. Blue: Hoechst; green: CD105

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Injection of orbital MSCs encapsulated in hydrogel to treat AMD
Injection of orbital MSCs encapsulated in hydrogel to treat AMD

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Retinal tissue regeneration - We aim to treat retinal degeneration by delivering various cell types by encapsulating them within an ECM-based thermoresponsive hydrogel.