Lauren Uyesaka has received a Provost’s Undergraduate Fellowship to support her project, “Designing cell delivery vehicles with programmable degradation.”

Lauren is a second year biomedical engineering major working in Eduardo Silva’s lab to develop alginate hydrogels that display on demand degradation for the local delivery of vascular progenitor cells to enhance new blood vessel formation. Her research involves controlling the degradation of these alginate hydrogels via the enzymatic degradation of alginate lyase. She uses modified vascular progenitor cells with a lentivector expressing alginate lyase upon doxycycline induction. Upon doxycycline induction, these vascular progenitor cells should produce alginate lyase and degrade the alginate hydrogels on demand.

“If this project is successful, I believe this method could translate to other types of biomaterials delivering various types of cells, drugs, or materials into the body in a safe and controlled manner,” Lauren explains.

Lauren plans to pursue a career at a biotechnology company or attend graduate school to get her PhD.

“Conducting undergraduate research and my own research project is such a unique and enriching experience. I believe that this project will give me the direction, skills, and knowledge necessary for success in a biotechnology company or graduate school,” Lauren says.

Lauren will present the results of her work at the annual Undergraduate Research Conference, which will take place April 27-28, 2018.