Doctor of Philosophy, Stanford University, CHEM-PHD (2013)
Bachelor of Arts, Amherst College, Chemistry (2006)
Guillem Pratx, Postdoctoral Research Mentor
Blood vessels transport blood to deliver oxygen and nutrients. Vascular diseases such as atherosclerosis may result in obstruction of blood vessels and tissue ischemia. These conditions require blood vessel replacement to restore blood flow at the macrocirculatory level, and angiogenesis is critical for tissue regeneration and remodeling at the microcirculatory level. Vascular tissue engineering has focused on addressing these two major challenges. We provide a systematic review on various approaches for vascular graft tissue engineering. To create blood vessel substitutes, bioengineers and clinicians have explored technologies in cell engineering, materials science, stem cell biology, and medicine. The scaffolds for vascular grafts can be made from native matrix, synthetic polymers, or other biological materials. Besides endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells, and fibroblasts, expandable cells types such as adult stem cells, pluripotent stem cells, and reprogrammed cells have also been used for vascular tissue engineering. Cell-seeded functional tissue-engineered vascular grafts can be constructed in bioreactors in vitro. Alternatively, an autologous vascular graft can be generated in vivo by harvesting the capsule layer formed around a rod implanted in soft tissues. To overcome the scalability issue and make the grafts available off-the-shelf, nonthrombogenic vascular grafts have been engineered that rely on the host cells to regenerate blood vessels in situ. The rapid progress in the field of vascular tissue engineering has led to exciting preclinical and clinical trials. The advancement of micro-/nanotechnology and stem cell engineering, together with in-depth understanding of vascular regeneration mechanisms, will enable the development of new strategies for innovative therapies. WIREs Syst Biol Med 2014, 6:61-76. doi: 10.1002/wsbm.1246 For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website. Conflict of interest: The authors have declared no conflicts of interest for this article.
View details for DOI 10.1002/wsbm.1246
View details for Web of Science ID 000328558500004
View details for PubMedID 24151038
Traditional materials used as in vitro cell culture substrates are rigid and flat surfaces that lack the exquisite nano- and micro-scale features of the in vivo extracellular environment. While these surfaces can be coated with harvested extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins to partially recapitulate the bio-instructive nature of the ECM, these harvested proteins often exhibit large batch-to-batch variability and can be difficult to customize for specific biological studies. In contrast, recombinant protein technology can be utilized to synthesize families of 3 dimensional protein-engineered biomaterials that are cyto-compatible, reproducible, and fully customizable.Here we describe a modular design strategy to synthesize protein-engineered biomaterials that fuse together multiple repeats of nanoscale peptide design motifs into full-length engineered ECM mimics.Due to the molecular-level precision of recombinant protein synthesis, these biomaterials can be tailored to include a variety of bio-instructional ligands at specified densities, to exhibit mechanical properties that match those of native tissue, and to include proteolytic target sites that enable cell-triggered scaffold remodeling. Furthermore, these biomaterials can be processed into forms that are injectable for minimally-invasive delivery or spatially patterned to enable the release of multiple drugs with distinct release kinetics.Given the reproducibility and flexibility of these protein-engineered biomaterials, they are ideal substrates for reductionist biological studies of cell-matrix interactions, for in vitro models of physiological processes, and for bio-instructive scaffolds in regenerative medicine therapies. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Nanotechnologies - Emerging Applications in Biomedicine.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.bbagen.2010.07.005
View details for Web of Science ID 000287470900012
View details for PubMedID 20647034
A common goal in tissue engineering is to attain the ability to tailor specific cell-scaffold interactions and thereby gain control over cell behavior. The tunable nature of protein-engineered biomaterials enables independent tailoring of a range of biomaterial properties, creating an attractive alternative to synthetic polymeric scaffolds or harvested natural scaffolds. Protein-engineered biomaterials are comprised of modular peptide domains with various functionalities that are encoded into a DNA plasmid, transfected into an organism of choice, and expressed and purified to yield a biopolymer with exact molecular-level sequence specification. Because of the modular design strategy of protein-engineered biomaterials, these scaffolds can be easily modified to enable optimization for specific tissue engineering applications. By including multiple peptide domains with different functionalities in a single, modular biomaterial, the scaffolds can be designed to mimic the diverse properties of the natural extracellular matrix, including cell adhesion, cell signaling, elasticity, and biodegradability. Recently, the field of protein-engineered biomaterials has expanded to include functional modules that are not normally present in the extracellular matrix, thus expanding the scope and functionality of these materials. For example, these modules can include noncanonical amino acids, inorganic-binding domains, and DNA-binding sequences. The modularity, tunability, and sequence specificity of protein-engineered biomaterials make them attractive candidates for use as substrates for a variety of tissue engineering applications.
View details for DOI 10.1089/ten.teb.2009.0591
View details for Web of Science ID 000278640000002
View details for PubMedID 20141386
View details for Web of Science ID 000208189304718