As the aged population is keep increasing, the concern about the healthcare and the quality of life is huge. Despite the rapid development of medicine and biotechnologies, there still are tremendous limitations in the ultimate cure of damaged tissues and their functional restoration. Our aim is to develop new multi-functional biomaterials and smart-therapeutics through the highly interdisciplinary convergence of biology, chemistry, and material science to improve human health. Specifically, we are highly interested in the development of advanced biomaterial systems and tissue engineering tools for novel cell-based therapeutics, regenerative immune modulation, and successful tissue reconstruction.
1. Multi-functional smart biomaterials
Biomaterials are engineered substances interacting with biological systems to improve efficacy of various therapeutics. From the surface modification of medical devices to the 3D construct fabrication, we are designing novel biomaterials that are multi-functional, dynamic and triggerable for successful tissue regeneration and disease treatment. Especially, hydrogel, a water containing 3D construct composed of polymeric networks, has shown great potential in versatile biomedical applications by modulating its mechanical and biochemical properties. We develop biological system-inspired hydrogels that are scalable, safe, and bio-functional. We are also interested in the development of advanced tools for biomaterial fabrication.
2. Cell-based therapeutic engineering
Our body is composed of trillions of differentiated cells maintaining structural, physiological and functional homeostasis in various organs. Cell therapy has been highlighted as a promising approach to treat disorders that were not efficiently curable with conventional drug-based therapeutics. Especially, not only the cells themselves, but the cell-derived materials also have shown great potential in treating various diseases and regeneration of damaged tissue. We develop novel cell-based therapeutics and engineering cell-derived materials for therapeutic applications. We are also interested in designing novel devices that can mediate efficient cell transplantation and subsequent therapeutic efficacy.
3. Regenerative immune engineering
Multiple factors play important roles in successful tissue regeneration. Conventional tissue engineering approaches mainly use scaffolds and cells to restore functionalities of damaged tissues, but there still are many hurdles regarding the efficacy and side effects by unwanted immune reactions during the treatment and regeneration processes. Immune system also coordinates with microenvironment of cells or organs to direct tissue repair and regeneration. By using advanced biomaterials, we aim to develop novel immune engineering tools to modulate, replace, engineer the systemic or local immune systems for successful tissue regeneration and inflammatory disease treatment.