Cartilage Tissue Engineering
Tissue engineering techniques use a combination of cells, scaffolds, and stimulating biochemical factors with the aim of creating engineered tissue constructs to replace diseased/damaged tissue and restore tissue function. A major set-back of cartilage tissue engineering strategies that use autologous chondrocytes is the loss of chondrogenic phenotype during two-dimensional (2D) expansion, a process that is essential for obtaining enough cells for three-dimensional (3D) tissue culture. Furthermore, there is currently no way to predict which cell sources are capable of producing sufficient matrix to create functional engineered tissue prior to the long, resource-intensive 3D culture process. To overcome this shortcoming, work in our lab is investigating the relationship between cellular properties during 2D expansion and 3D tissue production, a result which will have a transformative impact on biological repair strategies.
If you are interested in the most recent updates of this project, please feel free to contact Emily Lindberg (emily_lindberg at berkeley dot edu)
Hydrogel Mechanics Characterization
Additionally, native tissues and tissue interfaces represent composite materials with complex mechanical behaviors. Hydrogels can be used as scaffolds to investigate the effects of different components present in native and engineered tissues on mechanical properties. Currently, our laboratory is looking at how the addition of naturally present components like Collagen Type I affects the compressive and tensile mechanical properties of common hydrogels used for tissue engineering.
If you are interested in the most recent updates of this project, please feel free to contact Gabriel Lopez (gabriel_lopezmarcial at berkeley dot edu)
Spine On A Chip
With cells embedded on bendable microfluidic silicone devices called organ-chips, components of the intervertebral disc can be grown while subjected to similar loading modalities found in the flexing spine. In this way, tissue modeling is accomplished experimentally by an interdisciplinary team at the Berkeley Biomechanics Laboratory in order to investigate questions fundamental to the health of our spines.
If you are interested in the most recent updates of this project, please feel free to contact Jonathan McKinley (jmck11 at berkeley dot edu)