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BE Seminar: “Engineered Systems for Controlling Cellular Microenvironments: From Synthetic Extracellular Matrices to Multidimensional Disease Models” (April M. Kloxin)
March 31 at 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM
This seminar will be held in person and via zoom – check email for link.
The properties of the microenvironment in which cells reside, from structure to mechanics and biochemical content, increasingly are recognized as important drivers of cell function and fate, including in the onset and progression of disease (e.g., late cancer recurrence and fibrosis). Engineering soft materials to mimic key features of these complex microenvironments offers unique opportunities to probe and direct cellular functions and to test hypotheses about the role of specific extracellular cues in these diseases. In this seminar, I will share our recent efforts to design reductionist synthetic mimics of complex collagen-rich microenvironments. Specific applications of these and other engineered systems will be discussed for the creation of relevant multidimensional controlled cell culture models. Further, the opportunity that ‘omics’ tools provide for interrogation of cell responses within these engineered systems, from benchmarking versus in vivo and patient data to obtaining unique insights into cellular responses, also will be highlighted. This multipronged approach to understanding cell-microenvironment interactions is providing new tools and insights for addressing currently intractable diseases, including lung fibrosis and late cancer recurrence.
April M. Kloxin, Ph.D.
Thomas and Kipp Gutshall Development Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Departments of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering and Materials Science & Engineering, University of Delaware
April M. Kloxin, Ph.D., is the Thomas and Kipp Gutshall Development Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, an Associate Professor in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Delaware (UD), and a member of the Breast Cancer Research Program at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center and Research Institute in the Christiana Care Health System. She obtained her B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from North Carolina State University and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder, as a NASA Graduate Student Research Program Fellow, and trained as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her multi-disciplinary group creates unique materials with multiscale property control and applies them in conjunction with other innovative molecular tools for addressing outstanding problems in human health, with a focus on understanding dynamic cell-microenvironment interactions in wound healing, fibrosis, and cancer. She is a recipient of the 2019 Biomaterials Science Lectureship, 2018 ACS PMSE Arthur K. Doolittle Award, a NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, a Susan G. Komen Foundation Career Catalyst Research award, a NSF CAREER award, and a Pew Scholars in Biomedical Sciences award.