What We Do
How does the extracellular matrix (ECM) communicate with cells to affect their behavior? What micro- and macro-level mechanisms are at play in the interaction between these cells and the environment? And how can such information be used to pave the way for improved therapeutic strategies in the clinic?
We ask such questions at the STEM Lab with an understanding that cell behavior is only as important as its surrounding environment. We aim to elucidate and apply biophysical/biomechanical effects of ECM on cellular behavior, and set out to take a biomimetic approach for the design of novel biomaterials-based smart platforms. For instance, micro-level studies on cellular adhesion – a crucial factor for downstream cellular behavior – to ECM are underway as a means to engineer an artificial ECM that promotes optimal cellular adhesion. Also, prototype ECM platforms using natural cell-derived matrices (CDM) are being fine-tuned at a macro level with respect to their biophysical properties as a means to fully harness subsequent stem cell behavior. Furthermore, novel biomaterials that mimic and regulate the gene expression of interaction cells are being designed to generate a platform for clinical applications in regenerative medicine.
A number of other exciting studies with our collaborators are taking place at a rapid pace here at STEM, and we envision an ultimate paradigm shift in the field of regenerative medicine through such continued efforts of the research community.