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ME-EM Graduate Seminar Speaker Series
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Michigan Technological University
Abstract: Natural extracellular matrix (ECM) derived from cultured human cells can recapitulate the chemical and biological motifs of the ECM found in native tissues. Compared with ECM derived from animal tissues, cell-derived ECM avoids the problem of pathogen transfer and host immunological reactions, thereby holding greater potential in tissue engineering. We have previously created a highly aligned ECM scaffold by decellularizing fibroblast cell sheets that were grown on synthetic nanogratings. The ECM scaffold is composed of aligned uniform nanofibers with a diameter of 79 nm, which is similar to the size of collagen nanofibers in native tissues. The presence of abundant primary amine groups in the ECM scaffold enables its functionalization for drug release. The aligned ECM nanofibers provide directional cues for cell alignment, which allows for seeding cells on the ECM sheets to fabricate three-dimensional (3D) anisotropic tissue constructs, such as vascular grafts and cardiac patches. By co-culturing human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) and endothelial cells on the ECM scaffold, we have fabricated a pre-vascularized hMSC sheet containing highly oriented, dense and mature microvessels, which can be further engineered to form 3D pre-vascularized tissues for cardiac, skin, and other tissue regeneration purposes.
Bio: Dr. Feng Zhao received her PhD degree in Biomedical Engineering from Tianjin University. Her post-graduate training was completed first in Florida State University and then in Duke University. She is currently an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Michigan Technological University. Dr. Zhao has published more than 70 peer-reviewed journal papers and book chapters. She also serves in the editorial board of several journals. Dr. Zhao is a recipient of Young Clinical Scientist Award from Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute (FAMRI), Biomedical Engineering Society-Cellular and Molecular Engineering (BMES-CMBE) Rising Star Award, the Chinese Association for Biomaterials (CAB) Young Investigator Award, and the Michigan Tech Bhakta Rath Research Award. She has also received multiple Portage Health Foundation (PHF) and Michigan Tech Research Excellent Awards. Dr. Zhao’s research has been well supported by National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), and other funding agencies. Most recently, she received a prestigious NIH R01 grant from National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Dr. Zhao’s research products have been highlighted by national and international news agencies, newspapers, and scientific publishers.
Invited by: Parisa Abadi
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