Engineering the Cellular Microenvironment

Engineering the Cellular Microenvironment

Cells produce and encounter rich environments around them, that help them perform their very diverse functions around the body. They use it as support and to regulate their dynamic behaviour. Engineering these cellular micro environments to promote regeneration or to model tissues in vitro, involves the design of complex systems that interact with cells in a variety of ways, mimicking what happens in living beings. We study and exploit interactions between material surfaces, synthetic biocompatible materials, natural and synthetic extracellular matrix (ECM) molecules and growth factors (GFs) to understand and control cell behaviour and tissue repair.
We are pioneering work in several strategies to modulate cell behaviour and to direct stem cell fate:
- Nanovibrational stimulation to promote stem cells to differentiate into osteoblasts, and development of the ‘Nanokick Bioreactor’ to prime stem cells in vitro.
- Synthetic material-driven fibronectin fibrillogenesis, and it’s use to enhance presentation of GFs in different tissue engineering platforms.
- Introduced the concept of living biointerfaces to interact and study cell biology. We use genetically modified non-pathogenic bacteria as an in vitro functional and dynamic interface with stem cells.