Nanocomposite Biomaterials

With the recent advances in nanotechnology, a wide range of nanostructures with various sizes, shapes and properties are extensively explored. Therefore, these nanostructures are excellent candidates as fillers for developing composite biomaterials not only as structural reinforcements, but also to impart novel properties ("Multi-Functional") to materials. The resulting nanocomposite materials will be highly useful as scaffold biomaterials for tissue engineering applications.

2. Synthesis of Multifunctional Biopolymers

The majority of materials used in biomedical applications are based on polymers. Despite their favorable physicochemical properties and biocompatibility, they possess limited functionalities. Therefore, the resulting materials often require further modifications or need additional reinforcements. We aim to synthesize polymers that are (1) multi-functional in nature, thus minimizing the additional efforts and maximizing their efficiency, and (2) easily tunable to accommodate desired functionality.   

3. Material Design for Biological Studies

It is a significant challenge to precisely control the fate (e.g. proliferation, differentiation, protein expression) of various types of cells. Conventional approaches using only soluble factors have not produced satisfactory results. Extensive research efforts have revealed that creating a proper microenvironment that can mimic or manipulate the cell niche are necessary for successful control of cell behaviors. We aim to utilize our multi-functional biomaterials, in combination with soluble factors, to study and control cells in a desirable and predictable manner for biomedical applications.  

4. Microscale Tissue Engineering

It is desirable to control the overall size, shape, and architecture of a biomaterial in a micrometer scale in an efficient manner in order to develop patient-specific, organ-specific tissue engineered constructs. For this purpose, we are exploring the use of state-of-the-art microfabrication technologies such as photolighography, 3D printing, and microfluidics.