Education B.S. Chemical Engineering, Yale University, 2008
Our research focuses on the synthesis and optimization of three-dimensional collagen constructs for biomedical applications. There is a current medical need for implantable sheets, valves, and conduits which are biocompatible and can induce the oriented growth of cells along their surface. Our work focuses on the creation of collagen constructs to meet these demands.
As biomedical implants, collagen-based materials must have a good balance of strength and flexibility. One common difficulty is that the mechanical properties of reconstituted collagen can be somewhat poor. To remedy this, the collagen fibrils may be cross-linked to enhance their mechanical strength and rigidity. In addition, oriented fibrils are highly desirable in implantable collagen materials. An anisotropic substrate provides contact guidance for cell growth, directing cells to extend in desired orientations. Thus, our daily research focuses on optimizing collagen cross-linking and the orientation of collagen fibrils. The success of these methods is quantified using mechanical testing and cell culture.