Utilization of this laboratory's expertise in designing and seeding scaffolds mimicking the natural structures encountered in intervertebral disc (IVD) tissue, and will address the control of angiogenesis. Sustained angiogenic activation or inhibition in a localized area will be achieved by incorporating growth factors (VEGF) and/or derived from paracrine effects of incorporated cells such as stem cells, fibroblasts or chondrocytes. This project will draw upon my experience in forming controlled 3-D scaffolds and the results will assist in the ultimate goal of creating a structurally organized IVD, allowing for tissue engineering to be integrated into clinical practices
The transition was very smooth. Despite not knowing anyone in the country prior to my arrival, the lab made me feel very welcome, and before very long I felt at home. As is apt to happen in research, my project shifted from my original proposal. I became very involved in leveraging the lab's expertise in bioreactor design to visualize cell behavior in 3D during fluid flow. I ended up publishing a methods chapter with the following title and abstract: Title: Integration of Experimental and Computational Microfluidics in 3D Tissue Engineering Abstract: We present an integrated system, combining computational flow analysis with a microbioreactor designed for three-dimensional (3D) scaffolds to study the effects of hydrodynamic conditions on cell behavior over time. Using appropriate staining and imaging protocols, thin cell-seeded 3D scaffolds with a controlled architecture are monitored nondestructively in time and space. Computational fluid dynamic (CFD) simulation quantifies the fluidic environment within the scaffold pores. The model geometry and boundary conditions directly correspond to the environment given by the flow channel and specific scaffold architecture. Integrating the computational and experimental data, local fluid conditions are correlated one-to-one with local cell behavior throughout the course of culture. This concept is illustrated using the microfluidic system to investigate the effect of shear stress on cell proliferation in 3D. We explore design considerations and potential applications in tissue engineering for studying the cell response in a perfused 3D environment
I am now a graduate student in BME at Duke University. My time as a Whitaker Fellow definitely better prepared me for my graduate work and has helped me to formulate my future goals. I plan on graduating sometime in 2014.