BIOE Seminar Series: Shyni Varghese (Duke University)
Friday, October 1, 2021
9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.
Biomaterials for mechanistic understandings and therapeutic interventions
Regenerative medicine is an interdisciplinary field that has significant promise for treating compromised tissues and organs. In our laboratory, we use a number of bioengineering tools including biomaterials, organoids, quantitative modeling, and animal models to understand how the microenvironment regulates cell fate and to identify new therapeutic targets. In this talk, I will show several examples from our lab illustrating the use of such platforms to address key problems in tissue repair and disease progression. First, I will discuss our efforts in creating synthetic analogs of the extracellular matrix to direct stem cell commitment in vitro and in vivo and employing such platforms to understand molecular mechanisms underlying cell fate and identifying new therapeutic targets (Shih et al., PNAS 111: 990, 2014; 114: 5419 2017; Kang H et al., Biomacromolecules 16: 1050, 2015; Shih et al., Sci. Adv. 5: eaax1387, 2019). Next, I will discuss how these understandings can be leveraged to develop therapeutic interventions to promote tissue repair and mitigate pain (Zeng et al., Adv. Mater. 32, 2020). Finally, I will briefly discuss our efforts in creating materials with “living” functions such as self-healing along with their applications in soft robotics and tissue repair (Phadke at al., PNAS, 109: 4383, 2012, Kumar et al., Adv. Int. Syst. 3, 2100005, 2021).
About the Speaker, Shyni Varghese (Duke University)
Shyni Varghese, Ph.D., is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science, and Orthopaedics Surgery at Duke University. She is the inaugural MEDx Investigator at Duke University. Prior to moving to Duke, she was a Professor of Bioengineering at University of California, San Diego. Dr. Varghese’s research covers a broad range of topics including stem cells, biomaterials, biologically inspired systems, tissue chips, and regenerative medicine. Her research activities have resulted in over 100 publications and over a dozen patent disclosures. Examples of ongoing research activities in her laboratory involve developing functional biomaterials such as self-healing hydrogels and biomineralized matrices; technologies to improve cell-based therapies including stem-cell differentiation, cell transplantation, activating endogenous stem cells, and engineered functional tissue grafts; and organ-on-a-chip technologies. She is a fellow of AIMBE and Royal Society of Chemistry. She is currently serving as an Associate Editor of Biomaterials Science (an RSC journal).