Nanotechnology and Biomaterials

Dr. Vazquez investigates the cellular adhesion, proliferation, and changes in morphology observed during cell migration. Her highly interdisciplinary laboratory applies foundations in transport phenomena, microfabrication, and biochemistry to the study of fundamental questions in cell biology. It has developed a microfluidic-nanosystem that enables novel, quantitative study of cell migration. In collaboration with medical researchers and clinicians in the NYCBE, the lab has begun to apply this system to two distinct biomedical applications, connective tissue repair, and glioma infiltration.

A major effort in Dr. Wang's Laboratory for Microfluidic HTS Technology and Tissue Engineering is directed at the development of microfluidic cell arrays to study signaling pathways, such as apoptosis and inflammation, for the high throughput screening (HTS) of drugs using current discoveries in biomedical sciences and advanced technologies in BioMEMS. Another focus of her research is to investigate thermal effects on 3D tissue regeneration in synthetic extracellular matrices using stem cells and explore the role of heat shock proteins in tissue development, injury protection and repair.

Research in Dr. Nicoll's lab incorporates the principles of cell and molecular biology, materials science, and mechanical engineering toward the development of living tissue surrogates
for connective tissue restoration. A prevailing theme in each of the major research thrusts is understanding how environmental stimuli (i.e., mechanical forces and biochemical mediators) direct the differentiation of novel progenitor cells (i.e., human dermal fibroblasts, fetal cells) toward specialized lineages, including cartilage and bone cells. Efforts are also focused on the design of new biomaterials, such as photo-crosslinked cellulosic hydrogels, to modulate cellular phenotype and functional tissue growth.

Dr. Auguste's lab engineers solutions to address current challenges in medicine. Her lab designs, synthesizes, and evaluates new biomaterials that change the way we deliver drugs and cells. These materials exhibit cooperative or heterogeneous features, exemplified in nature.  A central theme in our lab is understanding how local organization affects global properties. Our biologically-inspired materials illustrate this concept via assembly at two length scales:  Molecular (1 μm) for Tissue Architecture.  Our research exploits current knowledge of cancer and vascular biology to engineer new drug delivery and tissue engineering platforms.

Dr. Gilchrist’s work is centered in the development of new membrane protein-based biomolecular materials. To this end, he is designing biomimetic materials to enable the construction of stable microenvironments that allow for the display of functional biomembrane-embedded receptors, transporters and enzymes. Imaging microscopy is being used to study the structure and function of these supramolecular assemblies and guide their fabrication. The goal of this research is to build new in vitro model systems for the study of biomedically-relevant membrane proteins and to develop membrane protein arrays for drug discovery.