“Dynamic Biomaterials for Controlling the Cell Microenvironment”

Dr. April Kloxin, Assistant Professor, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering and Materials Science & Engineering, University of Delaware.

Biomaterials, especially hydrogels, have emerged as tools to probe the role of microenvironment signals in regulating cell behavior and to direct cellular functions in regenerative medicine applications. While the microscopic physical and chemical properties of hydrogel-based microenvironments are known to play an important role in cell function and fate, less is known about how dynamic changes in properties influence biological function in both space and time. For example, driven by transient bidirectional crosstalk between cells and the extracellular matrix (ECM), cell differentiation and tissue regeneration are complex processes that often involve the presentation of multiple cues that are tightly regulated over multiple time and size scales. Consequently, materials-based strategies for controlling the presentation of selected cues at the appropriate time and place within the cellular niche can provide benefits for answering questions of both fundamental and applied importance. This talk will focus on strategies to impart highly regulated property control by synthesizing monomers capable of forming hydrogels in the presence of cells and subsequently allowing light or enzyme triggered modification to tune the network’s physical or chemical properties. In particular, we will highlight recent results as well as preliminary experiments in understanding the critical cues that direct progenitor cell fate during tissue repair, including ligament and lung healing.

When: Thursday, January 17, 2013 4:10 PM

Where: 1005 GBSF