Research Areas

 

Our work is motivated by a mixture of scientific curiosity and a desire to find solutions to outstanding challenges in tissue regeneration. We pursue challenges in stem cell biology, cell-cell and cell-environment interactions, and biomaterials with a view toward clinical application. Ultimately we seek to discover new methods of bringing about functional tissue regeneration by controlling cells and their environment. Our main research thrusts are:

Neuro Regeneration
 
  • Nerve conduits
  • Neuro-sensory interfaces
  • Neural biomaterials

Trauma to peripheral neural tissues often results in local paralysis and loss of sensation. Surgical nerve repair can restore some function but outcomes are highly dependent on the size of the nerve defect and the distance between the injury site and the distal motor and sensory sites.

 

Our work focuses on identifying mechanisms of axon guidance and the application of these findings in the design of nerve conduits that can bring about nerve repair over longer distances than is possible using current treatments.

 

Collaborations include Johns Hopkins University, Rutgers University, and Burke Rehabilitation Hospital

Label-Free Microfluidic Cell Sorting
 
  • Diagnostics
  • Cell Therapy
  • Research Tools

In collaboration with CFD Research Corporation (Huntsville, AL) we are developing methods to sort cells in a label-free manner to support work in diagnostics development as well as clinical applications of cell therapy.

Organ & Tissue Banking
  • Tissue Manufacturing Stability
  • Organ Donation Banking 
  • Research Tools

Organ and tissue banking strategy development and vision setting.

Compendium of Organ & Tissue Banking Concepts - 2015
Organ & Tissue Banking Workshop at West Point
Organ Bioengineering & Banking Roadmap Report
Bone & Cartilage Regeneration
 
  • Protein engineering 
  • Bioinstructive scaffolds

Loss of bone and cartilage due to trauma, disease, or simply due to ageing can lead to life long disability with few treatment options. In cases of truama or cancer large segments of bone can be lost.  Beyond a certain critical sized bone defect the body's own healing mechanisms cannot replace the lost bone, thus requiring clincal intervention.  Currently there are no suitable methods to reliably regenerate large bone segments greater than a few centimeters.  

 

Our work in this area focuses on the design of biologically instructive scaffolds that guide regeneration through the presentation of cues that mimic embryonic bone development.  In area of osteo-chondral (bone+cartilage) regeneration our group designs scaffolds that promote spatially guided differentiation leading to the formation of cartilage integrated with bone.

 

Collaborations include: Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, MIT, and NIH

 

iPSC-Derived Tissue Engineering
 
  • Genomic editing
  • Differentiation check point control
iPSC-Derived Tissue Engineering
 
  • Genomic editing
  • Differentiation check point control

Our work in this area is focused on the application of CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing to render iPSCs more clinically useful.

Our work in this area is focused on the application of CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing to render iPSCs more clinically useful.

© Luis Alvarez 2012