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BME Seminar: Joyce Wong, Biomaterials to Detect and Treat Cardiovascular Disease

Joyce Wong, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Division of Materials Science & Engineering, Boston University

Tuesday, September 20, 2016
8:30 a.m.
River Campus, Robert B. Goergen Hall, Sloan Auditorium (Room 101)


It is well known in materials science and engineering that the structural organization of a material system is instrumental in determining its functional properties. Similarly, biological tissues are characterized by unique architectures that perform specific functions. Here I will describe strategies to recapitulate the hierarchical organization using small diameter blood vessels as an example. These approaches can be applied to other laminate and layered systems such as skin. Our approach is to combine micropatterning techniques with thermoresponsive (poly-N-isopropylacrylamide) surfaces that enable the release of cell sheets that mimic the alignment of vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) layers of the artery.

While tissue engineering can provide solutions for replacing diseased tissues, it would be highly desirable to develop methods that would detect cardiovascular disease early –before the disease has progressed to the point requiring surgical intervention. We have therefore also been developing contrast agents that would enable molecular targeting of cardiovascular disease. In addition, we have been developing theranostic agents can serve to simultaneously image and release a drug payload to targeted areas. Tissue-engineered models such as angiogenesis-on-a-chip can be used to optimize these theranostic agents with the aim of early disease.