Our lab is broadly interested in tissue formation, cellular assembly that yields 3D structure, and materials that mimic the native tissue environment.
(1) Tissue Origami
We present a simple and versatile technique that allows for the mathematical patterning of cells in 2D to yield 3D cellular organization. We demonstrate the utility of this technique by evaluating blood vessel formation in vivo from constructs seeded with endothelial and smooth muscle cells. This technique may enable the development of organized tissue engineered constructs that more closely resemble native tissues. In addition, we develop programmable materials that mimic morphogenesis based on the coordination of individual cells that either shrink or expand. These materials undergo transformations derived from local mechanical stresses and heterogeneity.
Ye GJC, You J, Auguste DT. Tissue origami. In preparation.
You J, Rafat M, Auguste DT. Colloid Morphogenesis. In preparation.
(2) Bioresponsive Tissue Engineering
We are interested in understanding the structure/function relationship of biomaterials. We synthesize materials that regulate cell viability, adhesion, and function by engineering the chemical, electrical, and/or mechanical properties. These materials are designed to mimic or enhance the properties of tissue engineered constructs to replicate the native tissue environment. These materials are also used for sensing applications.
You J, Auguste DT. Conductive, physiologically responsive hydrogels. Langmuir 2010; 26(7):4607-4612
You J, Rafat MR, Ye JC, Auguste DT. Nanoengineering the heart: towards tunable scaffolds that mimic the mechanical and electrical properties of the myocardium. Submitted.
You J, Almeda D, Rafat M, Auguste DT. Increasing cell survival in vivo via pH-sensing scaffolds. In preparation.
(3) Stem Cell Niche
Cells receive both mechanical and chemical cues in their surrounding microenvironment. These cues are responsible for determining their fate. We are interested in how changes in the environment influence the extracellular matrix (ECM) composition and how this, in turn, affects differentiation. The ECM is a complex, three-dimensional environment that surrounds and supports cells in tissues. It is comprised of structural proteins (i.e., collagen and elastin), specialized proteins (i.e., fibronectin and laminin), and proteoglycans. By understanding the natural temporal changes that arise in the stem cell niche, we may be able to (1) understand the underlying contribution of the ECM to differentiation and (2) prepare synthetic scaffolds that mimic properties of the native niche.
Horton R, Millman J, Colton C, Auguste DT. Engineering microenvironments for embryonic stem cell differentiation to cardiomyocytes. Regenerative Medicine 2009; 4(5):721-732.
Sachlos E, Auguste DT. Embryoid body morphology influences diffusive transport of inductive biochemicals: A strategy for stem cell differentiation. Leading Opinion Paper, Biomaterials 2008; 29(34):4471-4480.