DIRECTOR: DR. EVANGELIA BELLAS
We study how adipocytes, the main cell type found in adipose tissue (fat), interact with their microenvironment to learn how fat functions under normal and disease conditions. This is done through three-dimensional tissue engineered models to examine how interactions with the extracellular matrix influence adipocyte behavior and conversely, how adipocytes remodel their microenvironment in response to various cues. We also explore microfluidic, fat-on-chip systems to examine how the vasculature impacts adipose tissue function. We apply this understanding of adipose tissue to study two main areas: (1) metabolic diseases, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes and (2) soft tissue regeneration and reconstruction for filling of soft tissue defects caused by trauma, tumor resections or congenital defects. Visit the BellasFATlab website.
Director: Dr. Peter Lelkes
Researchers work together in an open lab setting that includes brand new cell culture rooms, a series of new microscopes for biological and materials confocal imaging, instruments for materials testing and equipment for creating a variety of three dimensional scaffolds. Visit the iCterm website.
Director: Dr. Michel Lemay
The Lemay research group focuses on understanding the functioning and contribution of the spinal circuitry to the control of locomotion, and how this circuitry can be re-engaged for rehabilitation purposes following injury. A number of tools are used to activate and probe the spinal circuitry, techniques ranging from cellular delivery of neurotrophic factors to electrical stimulation of the spinal cord or its afferent feedback to locomotor re-training and multiunit recording of interneuronal activity during locomotion.
Director: Dr. Bojana Gligorijevic
Cancer Microscopy & Mechanobiology Lab investigates mechanisms of tumor cell metastasis by combining approaches from mechanobiology, microfluidics and tissue engineering. We implement established and develop new real-time microscopy technologies at multiple scales (molecular, cellular, tissue, organismal). In addition, we collaborate with mathematical modelers (Tuzel lab, Bioengineering Department) and clinicians (Fox Chase Cancer Center) to push both quantitative and translational aspects of our work. We strive towards predicting tumor cell decisions, which are a dynamical, ever-changing outcome of mechanical and chemical signals from cell-based and extracellular sources. While we are excited about engineering new technologies and highly curious about mechanistic understanding of metastasis, our overarching goal is to translate our findings into predictive diagnostics and point to novel therapeutic targets to prevent metastasis.
Director: Dr. Chetan Patil
Our lab is focused on development of label-free, biochemically specific, optical imaging and spectroscopy techniques for screening and diagnosis of disease, intraoperative surgical guidance, and applications to priority issues in global health.
Director: Dr. Andrew Spence
Gaining an understanding of how neural and musculoskeletal systems work together to control movement, with the long-term aim of improving the quality of life of those with neuromuscular disease or injury is the primary focus of the Spence group. We engineer new technologies for sensing and perturbing intact of freely moving animals in order to improve our ability to dissect the neuromechanical systems underlying movement. Two current areas of interest are on the role of constraints (stability, energetics) in shaping quadrupedal gait control and in applying new neurogenetic techniques to dissect the control of fast legged locomotion, and to ultimately better treat spinal cord injuries. For the latter, we are exploring the possibility that viral gene therapeutic methods that deliver chemogenetic tools (DREADDs) can stimulate afferent neurons to improve recovery from spinal cord injury. Visit the Spence Lab.
Director: Dr. Nancy Pleshko
Our lab focuses on assessment of tissues at the molecular, cellular, and structural level through application of state-of-the-art vibrational spectroscopy, including mid- and near-infrared spectroscopy and spectroscopic imaging, in concert with complementary techniques. We develop spectral imaging methods for clinical and laboratory assessment of bone, cartilage, meniscus, ligament, tendon, skin and cardiovascular tissues, as well as for developing engineered tissues, and for assessment of plant composition. In addition, we're interested in the effect of biological interventions, such as anti-resorptive agents, on bone quality and mechanical properties. Please visit the lab for more information.
Director: Dr. Karin Wang
The Wang Lab leverages interdisciplinary approaches in order to engineer reductionist model systems that probe mechanobiological drivers of signal transduction to enhance our fundamental understanding of structure-function relationships regulating cell-matrix interactions in health and disease. Visit the Wang Lab site for more information.