Research Overview

In our research, we bring an interdisciplinary approach—by combining principles of physical sciences, engineering, materials science, biology, and medicine, and through strong collaborations with basic scientists and physicians—to tackle several rising challenges. Our laboratory works on a diverse area ranging from basic sciences to tools to translatable technologies. A recurring theme in our approach is developing ex vivo platforms (smart biomaterials and miniature organs) with organ/tissue specific properties and employing them to address biomedical questions and gain new fundamental understandings with a focus on health, disease, and aging. Moving forward we test these findings in vivo using clinically relevant animal models.  Through a series of “why”, “how”, and “so what’, we have made new discoveries leading to new approaches and technologies. Some examples include the: “bone bandage”, “cell pouch”, “DraBot”, “self-healing hydrogel”, “self-repairing lubricants”, etc. Current research activities in our lab can be broadly divided into four categories: Smart Biomaterials which includes 3D hydrogel cultures for cells to cell transplantation devices to stimuli-responsive delivery units and active materials, Miniature Organs, which includes organoids and organ-on-chip models, Rejuvenation which includes healthy healing to age-mediated tissue degeneration and impaired healing to pain, and Bench to Bedside, which involves novel therapies and technologies to promote tissue regeneration, treat diseases, and restore organ function.