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Dr Brendan Harley, Patterning biomaterials for regenerative medicine and stem cell engineering

Date: Tue 11 Sep 2012, 10:30 - 12:00

Location: SEMS Seminar Room

Dr Brendan Harley, Dept. of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Illinois

Patterning biomaterials for regenerative medicine and stem cell engineering

The extracellular matrix (ECM) is a complex organization of structural proteins such as collagens and proteoglycans. Heterogeneous tissues with spatially and temporally modulated properties and their biomaterial mimics play an important role in organism physiology and regenerative medicine. With the understanding that the microstructure, mechanics, and composition of the ECM is dynamic and often spatially patterned or heterogeneous over the length-scale of traditional biomaterials, there has recently been significant effort aimed at moving away from static, monolithic biomaterials towards instructive biomaterials that provide specialized cell behavioral cues in spatially and temporally defined manners. We have been developing patterned, tunable biomaterial systems to explore the practical significance of how cell/matrix cues can be optimized to improve biomaterial regenerative potential and the mechanistic details of how individual (stem) cells sense, integrate, and respond to multiple microenvironmental signals. We are integrating anisotropic and multi-compartment collagen scaffolds with photolithography-based biomolecule patterning tools for the regenerative repair of orthopedic defects. We are also creating multi-gradient biomaterials to investigate fundamental questions regarding niche-mediated regulation of hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) behavior. Here microfluidic tools aid our investigation of the role played by matrix elasticity, ligand presentation, and paracrine-mediated signaling on HSC fate.

Dr. Harley received a B.S. in Engineering Sciences from Harvard University (2000) and an Sc.D. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT (2006). After a post-doc in immunology at Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Dr. Harley joined the faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2008 where he is an assistant professor in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Dept. and a faculty member at the Institute for Genomic Biology. His research focuses on developing biomaterials for applied tissue engineering applications and which can be used as model systems to study how individual (stem) cells sense and respond to microenvironmental cues. He is the co-founder of UK-based Orthomimetics, Ltd. (recently acquired by TiGenix, Ltd.), which currently has a biomaterial for arthroscopic osteochondral repair in Phase I clinical trials.

Contact:Hazel Screen