Abstract: In this seminar, I will highlight some of our recent efforts in the area of tissue engineering. While emerging technologies such as tissue engineering offer exciting alternative therapies to tissue and organ transplantation, many challenges remain with respect to engineering functional tissues. One area that has received little attention in tissue engineering is the foreign body reaction (FBR). The FBR is notorious for causing unwanted degradation due to its harsh environment and rendering implanted medical devices non-functional by walling off the device in a dense avascular capsule. Central to the FBR is the implantation of non-biological (i.e., synthetic) materials. Synthetic materials have become popular in tissue engineering because nearly any physical property can be achieved with high fidelity and reproducibility. In vivo (i.e., in the body) placement of cell-laden scaffolds offers many advantages over in vitro (i.e., outside the body) culture since cells are immersed in a microenvironment containing a milieu of signals unique to that tissue. However, numerous studies including work from our group confirm the presence of a FBR to synthetic scaffolds. I will highlight some of our recent efforts in designing synthetically derived hydrogels for tissue engineering, understanding the role of the FBR to synthetic hydrogels, and developing new approaches to manipulate the FBR. Our long-term goal is to improve the in vivo response to synthetic-based scaffolds and ultimately their success in tissue engineering.
Professor Stephanie Bryant earned a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 1995, and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Colorado in 2002. She spent a little over two years in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Washington as a NIH post-doctoral fellow prior to joining the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Colorado in 2005. Prof. Bryant is the recipient of a K-series NIH Award and a NSF CAREER Award. She received the Biotechnology and Bioengineering Daniel I.C. Wang Award in 2011. In 2012, Prof. Bryant was a Leverhulme visiting professor at Queen Mary University of London. The Bryant research group primarily focuses on functional tissue engineering using photopolymerizable hydrogels.