Research

New horizons in understanding and addressing complex injuries

Techniques

We employ a diverse array of techniques spanning the fields of biomaterial engineering, cell and molecular biology, biochemistry, and chemistry.

In addition to more widely used techniques associated with in vivo and in vitro disease modeling and conventional analytical techniques (e.g., western blotting, RNAseq, etc.), some of the lab’s specialized techniques include:

Quantitative histopathology

  • Chromogenic (i.e., clinically relevant) and fluorescent multiplexed immunohistochemical analysis of tissues.
  • Development of quantitative analysis routines to facilitate unbiased assessment versus more conventional Likert scales.
  • Quantitative evaluation of special stains (e.g., trichromes, polychromes, polarization-sensitive stains).
Quantitative auto-detection of dual-stained neutrophils in mouse skin injuries sealed with a silk-based biomaterial.

Rapid metabolic and ionic response sensing

  • Development of novel small molecule indicators and genetically-encoded FRET sensors for detection of metabolic and ionic cellular responses on short (sub-1 second) time scales.
  • Multiplexed analyte detection in cells (e.g., potassium and calcium) to evaluate coordinated relationships of regulatory events.
  • Coordination of cellular events with tissue-level responses to capture non-transcriptomic and non-proteomic responses to materials and drugs.
Simultaneous detection of K+ (magenta) and membrane permeability (cyan) in primed macrophages treated with an ionophore.

Disease Targets

Prior and ongoing work focuses on materials, mechanisms, and therapeutics for applications in:

Wound Healing & Skin Diseases

  • Discovery of novel intrinsic mediators of wound healing and recombinant biologics development to harness these pathways.
  • Identification of pro-healing immune and reparative signaling responses stimulated by biomaterial and bioactive exposure.
  • Development of controlled release drug delivery platforms to rationally enhance healthy and augment dysregulated healing by sustained delivery of small molecule drugs and protein biologics.
Real-time epithelialization in an in vitro keratinocyte scratch.

Spinal Cord Injury

  • Characterization of the molecular kinetics of spinal cord injury to identify biomarkers of healing and disease.
  • Local delivery of immune-modulating treatments directly to the cavity of injury to promote tissue recovery and limit inflammation.
  • Development of injectable and systemic biomaterial carriers to deliver therapeutic cargo to the cavity of injury.
Neurofilament staining in a rat spinal cord injury.