At the forefront of scientific innovation, “Microengineered Biomaterials and Bottom-Up Tissue Engineering” group is dedicated to the art of engineering miniaturized tissues through the self- or directed assembly of diverse building blocks. These building blocks consist of cells embedded within hydrogels or assembled alongside micron-scale biomaterials, culminating in the creation of hybrid microtissue assemblies. Our overarching objective is to employ a bottom-up approach, grounded in assembly principles, to craft tissue microunits in a modular fashion. These microunits possess a microstructural definition and a hierarchical complexity mirroring the intricacy of their native counterparts.
Our group is committed to pushing the boundaries of innovation by creating technologies and tools for engineering cell-instructive micro-scale biomaterials. These biomaterials are enriched with physical, chemical, and biological information, thus serving as building blocks that faithfully mimic the tissue matrix. Our microbiomaterials are highly customizable in terms of size, shape, bulk stiffness, surface chemistry, and micro- or nano-texture. These attributes empower us to exert precise control over (stem) cell fate. Our research extends to the realm of engineering biomaterials, where we explore chemistries and micro/macro-topographies that faithfully recapitulate tissue matrix and structural organization. This pursuit allows us to establish microanatomically accurate in vitro miniaturized tissue models. Simultaneously, it grants us a profound understanding of how the chemical, mechanical, and topographical aspects of biomaterials drive and influence regeneration processes.
Our work holds the promise of serving two pivotal purposes: the development of miniaturized in vitro tissue models and the creation of injectable regenerative therapies. Our three-dimensional (3D) hybrid cell-biomaterial assemblies find versatile applications, from establishing a standardized pipeline for the biological screening of biomaterials within a 3D microenvironment to pioneering regenerative therapies for the treatment of critical-sized bone defects. In our relentless pursuit of progress, our focus is primarily on musculoskeletal tissue engineering, with a keen emphasis on bone and bone-soft tissue interfaces.