EBICS Leadership Title: Education Director
Academic Title-Position: School of Engineering Professor of Teaching Innovation
Department: Biological Engineering
University: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Research Group Member: Organoids
Faculty Investigator: Paula Hammond (MIT), Linda Griffith (MIT)
Microvascular Network Working Group (A Modular Polymer Microbead Angiogenesis Scaffold for Vascularizing Dense Epithelial Tissue, Synthetic Helical Modular Polypeptide Hydrogels for 3D Cell Culture)
Contributing Trainee(s) and corresponding trainee projects: Marianna Sofman
Proteoglycans are a broad, important class of biomacromolecules whose applications have been limited by the poor reproducibility of isolation from natural sources. Synthetic proteoglycans that capture generic compositional and biophysical features of the native counterparts offer a potential alternative as a reproducible and scalable source of proteoglycans, though many synthetic systems lack biological activity. We have developed a method to synthesize polypeptide-hyaluronic acid conjugates of various architectures that more closely mimic the composition of native proteoglycans. These conjugates exhibit biological activity distinct from constituent hyaluronic acid molecules. Furthermore, we have demonstrated an application of these conjugates in three-dimensional (3D) endothelial network formation.
Faculty Investigator: Linda Griffith (MIT)
Topic: Organoids & MPS
Contributing Trainee(s) and corresponding trainee projects: Alex Brown (MIT) – Engineering Synthetic Microenvironments for Vascularization and Organoid Morphogenesis, Marianna Sofmann (MIT) , joint with Paula Hammond– A facile approach to vascularization in dense tissue with microbeads (see Hammond Report), Alex Wang (MIT) – Biomaterials for morphogenesis of liver tissue
The primary focus of the Griffith Lab research in EBICS is design-based synthesis of synthetic biomaterials micro-environments for controlling tissue morphogenesis: vascularization, organoid growth, creation of complex mucosal barriers by morphogenesis approaches; these approaches are coupled with design of devices to control the fluidic microenvironment. We have developed design principles for synthetic matrices that involve key properties as illustrated on the axes shown in the schematic below. The Figure shows human primary endometrial epithelial glands (stained green with EpCAM, an epithelial marker) forming by fusion of organoids and outgrowth along the synthetic matrix surface; stromal cells (red, vimentin) emerge over time.