Presented by Biomedical Engineering Graduate Seminar Series and Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation
Hosted by Tiffiny Butler, PhD, Department of Biomedical Engineering
Abstract: In order to advance clinical therapies, increased focus should be placed on designing physiologically-relevant in vitro models that approximate the physical and biochemical signaling inherent to the in vivo microenvironment. This talk will highlight a 3D vasculogenesis model that used tunable type I collagen polymers to demonstrate how the interplay between collagen-fibril structure and matrix stiffness can be used to guide lumenized vessel formation and stabilization by endothelial precursors. The results of this work provided critical information in the development of strategies to address wound healing and microvasculature restoration in ischemic tissues. Similar approaches in 3D ECM design were applied to the design and validation of 3D in vitro tumor models to increase the predictive power and efficacy of preclinical tumor models. This work, performed jointly between Eli Lilly and Company and Purdue University, combined ECM materials with various cell types, including organoids derived from primary and metastatic tumors, with the goals of: 1) creating more physiologically relevant 3D in vitro tumor models and 2) integrating them into high throughput screening technologies used in drug discovery.
Bio: Catherine F. Whittington joined WPI in January 2018 as an Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering. Overall, Dr. Whittington seeks to balance physiological relevance and throughput capabilities of in vitro tissue models to increase their predictive power and ultimately bridge the gap between preclinical results and clinical outcomes in regenerative medicine and drug discovery.