A core interest in our research is to understand how molecular signals and biophysical forces function either synergistically or independently to guide organ development and physiology, and how these processes can be therapeutically harnessed to treat human disease. Given the escalating medical crisis in nephrology as growing number of patients suffer from kidney disease that lead to organ failure, our research group focus on integrating stem cell biology with engineering principles and synthetic chemistry techniques to understand the mechanisms of human kidney development and function. We aim to extend these studies to engineer functional in vitro models to facilitate the development of novel therapeutic modalities for human kidney disease.
Questions that inspire our work
- Can we reprogram and direct stem cell differentiation into specialized tissues with specificity and efficiency?
- How do we engineer models of human organs to recapitulate in vivo function and disease phenotype?
- How do molecular signals and biophysical forces contribute to organ development and disease?
- What factors contribute to disease progression?
- Can we use mathematical/computational tools to illuminate disease mechanisms and identify new therapeutic targets?
- Why are some tissues and organs not able to regenerate or restore function upon injury?
Specific areas of research
- Stem cell and developmental biology (directed differentiation and mechanisms of tissue development)
- Pre-clinical in vitro models
- Organ engineering (including 3D bioprinting, organs-on-chips, and organoids)
- Design and synthesis of biomaterials
- CRISPR-Cas9 genome and epigenome engineering
- Disease modeling and drug discovery
- Regenerative medicine
- Immune regulation of transplanted organs
- Computational/mathematical modeling of complex biological problems
- Mechanobiology and disease biophysics
- Glycobiology of human physiology and disease
- Exploring the impact of COVID-19 disease and SARS-CoV-2 virus on the kidneys