Technology Research & Development
The Center's Technology Research and Development Projects (TRDs) are meant to catalyze advances in tissue engineering and foster its integration into a mature and well-rounded scientific field with strong impacts on regenerative medicine and modeling of disease. We propose to achieve this ambitious vision through the operation of three interactive TRDs:
Adaptive-responsive biomaterials We propose to develop an entirely new class of biomaterials with adaptive control functions that can grow, sense, and actuate cells in vitro and in vivo, for biological research and tissue regeneration. The goal is to develop biomaterial systems for functional restoration of complex tissue structures based on the “read and response” of the cells to environmental requirements. The focus will be on developing materials capable of adaptive responses to the biology (e.g., cells, enzymes) with robust control of mechanical properties and degradation rates to match the rates of remodeling, while retaining structural features and functionality during these transitions.
Imaging enabled bioreactor systems TRD2 addresses the critical gap in our current ability to continuously and non-destructively manipulate and observe spatially heterogeneous parameters that dynamically change over time within engineered tissues. We will develop the next generation bioreactor-imaging systems for real-time spatiotemporal control of engineered tissues. We will focus on bioluminescent imaging (BLI) for quantitative and real-time sensing, and on optogenetics for actuation. Optogenetic stimulation and sensing allow for: (i) targeting specific cell types, (ii) both stimulating and inhibiting the targeted cells, and (iii) high-resolution spatiotemporal control of excitable tissues in vitro. We hypothesize that the combination of genetic engineering and advanced optical systems will enable precise spatiotemporal control of engineered tissues.
Regenerative engineering. In TRD3, we will develop clinical-scale, translational bioreactor systems with advanced imaging designed for regenerative engineering of whole organs. This TRD will promote translation of advanced technologies for tissue and organ regeneration, in line with the overall mission of the Center to transform the field of tissue engineering and its impact on medicine.