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BE Seminar: “Building Tissues: Engineering Complexity Through Biomaterial Design” (Brendan Harley, University of Illinois)

March 2, 2023 at 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Advances in the fields of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine require biomaterials that instruct, rather than simply permit, a desired cellular response. A major challenge to progress in our field is the complex organization of the tissues in our bodies, which are hierarchical, vary in space and time, and can differ person-to person. Prof. Harley’s research program is developing approaches to structurally and biomolecularly pattern biomaterials to enable tissue regeneration after injury as well as to study processes linked to homeostasis and disease progression outside of the body. A major area of our work targets development of a degradable biomaterial to regenerate craniomaxillofacial bones and musculoskeletal insertions. We are using bioinspired design motifs to create composite materials that instruct desired cell activities while retaining mechanical competence required for clinical translation. I will describe (granular) hydrogel models to study niche regulation of hematopoietic stem cells and patient-derived glioblastoma specimens. These tools enable study of dynamic processes such as niche remodeling and reciprocal signaling linked to stem cell quiescence as well as the role of angiocrine signals and immune interactions on invasive spreading and drug resistance in primary brain cancer. We are adapting these approaches to develop hierarchical models of the endometrial tissue microenvironment to investigate trophoblast invasion and endometrial pathologies.

Brendan A. Harley, Sc.D.

Robert W. Schaefer Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Brendan Harley is the Robert W. Schaefer Professor in the Dept. of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received a B.S. in Engineering Sciences from Harvard University (2000), a Sc.D. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT (2006), and performed postdoctoral studies at the Joint Program for Transfusion Medicine at Children’s Hospital Boston (2006 – 2008). His research group develops biomaterial platforms to dynamically regulate cell behavior for applications in musculoskeletal regeneration, hematopoietic stem cell biomanufacturing, as well as to investigate endometrial pathologies and invasive brain cancer. He has received funding from the NSF, NIH, American Cancer Society, the U.S. Army, and the AO Foundation. Prof. Harley co-founded a regenerative medicine company, Orthomimetics Ltd., to commercialize a biomaterial for osteochondral regeneration.

Dr. Harley has received a number of awards and honors including an NSF CAREER award (2013), the Young Investigator Award (2014) and the Clemson Award for Basic Research (2021) from the Society for Biomaterials (2014), as well as university research, teaching, and promotion awards (U. Illinois). He is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2014), the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (2018), and the Biomedical Engineering Society (2021).


March 2, 2023
3:30 PM - 4:30 PM
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Glandt Forum, Singh Center for Nanotechnology
3205 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104 United States
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