Our research is focused on engineering cells and micro/nano materials for tissue regeneration and therapeutic development. Current research interests include the following five areas.

Cell engineering and mechanobiology

Stem cells and reprogrammed cells have broad applications in regenerative medicine, disease modeling and drug screening. While the effects of biochemical factors on stem cell differentiation and cell reprogramming are widely studied, the roles of biophysical factors are not well understood. We investigate how biophysical factors such as mechanical cues and the micro/nano structure of biomaterials regulate cell fate determination and epigenetic changes, and translate fundamental findings into cell engineering technologies.

Cardiovascular bioengineering

Cardiovascular diseases are a leading cause of death in the U.S. and many countries. We are interested in understanding how stem cells and vascular cells are involved in blood vessel regeneration and remodeling. We aim to develop self-regenerated vascular grafts that are mechanically durable, anti-thrombogenic and bioactive by engineering the micro/nano structure and surface chemistry of polymers and biological matrices. We also employ drug delivery systems to modulate regeneration and remodeling processes of blood vessels and heart.

In situ tissue engineering

Our body has tremendous potential to regenerate and remodel tissues. We seek to understand the underlying mechanisms and harness the regeneration potential of stem cells, immune cells and local cells. We engineer stem cells, design biomimetic materials, and develop novel drug delivery systems to awaken and modulate tissue regeneration in situ. Ongoing research in the lab focuses on blood vessel and neuromuscular tissues.

Immunoengineering

Immune cells play important roles in atherosclerosis, transplant rejection and cancer development. We are interested in engineering bioactive mciro/nano materials and drug delivery systems to modulate immune cell activation and functions, which may lead to novel therapeutics.

Theranostic tissue engineering

Tissue regeneration and remodeling often take a long time and may have irreversible failure. We are interested in combining tissue engineering and point-of-care monitoring approaches to develop theranostic devices by integrating microsensors into scaffolds. Current models include nerve regeneration and vascular remodeling.

 

Selected Publications