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Optical Characterization of Cardiovascular Tissue

Minimally invasive methods for diagnosing cardiovascular disease

Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopic is being use to characterize the extracellular matrix (ECM) changes in diseased cardiovascular tissue. We are utilizing this novel method to complement histological and immune-histological methods for studying changes in tissue after a myocardial infarction or walls of the aorta with abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). We are also extending this methodology to quantify ECM proteins in intact tissue using fiber optics technology.


Multi-Labeled Liposomes

Drug carriers that target multiple sites in the tissue

The objective of this project is to develop a multi-labeled liposome delivery system to increase binding, uptake, and cytotoxicity, ultimately improving therapeutic effects. These liposomes can be conjugated to several targeting moieties to significantly improve the selective delivery of therapeutic compounds to target tissue.


Pediatric Blood-Brain Barrier on a Chip

Developing novel tools to understand congenital and pediatric neurological diseases

In this project we are developing develop a novel, predictive and throughput-friendly microfluidic “blood-brain barrier on a chip” (B3C) that allows for characterization of the pediatric blood–brain barrier dysfunction which plays an important role in many pathologies of pediatric neurological diseases.


Targeted Delivery of Anti-vascular Drugs to Irradiated Tumors

Taking the fight against cancer straight to the tumor

Tissue exposed to ionizing radiation for therapeutic purposes is significantly altered. An example of this alteration is the upregulation of several adhesion molecules (e.g. β3 chain, E-selectin) on the luminal surface of the endothelium in the tumor vasculature and the surrounding normal tissue. This radiation-induced upregulation provides a potential avenue for targeting drugs/genes to breast tumors. We have engineered an approach in which a ligand bearing drug carrier would be selectively delivered to tumors that have been irradiated for therapeutic purposes. This patented technology has shown early promise in treating several different types of tumors.


Regenerating Cardiac Tissue Through Targeted Drug Delivery

Engineering approaches to heal the broken heart

Engineering of supporting vasculature in addition to the implantation of stem cells in the infracted myocardium presents a promising strategy for clinical application of stem cell therapies for cardiovascular diseases. The overall objective of this study is to create the technology to enhance the morphology and function of post-infarct neovasculature, prior to scar formation, and to establish the optimal time post-myocardial infarction (MI) when proangiogenic interventional strategies could result in maximal in situ renewal of myocardial tissue lost to MI. Our interdisciplinary group ultimately hopes to develop a revolutionary technology to selectively target pharmaceutical agents to diseased tissue to rebuild the microenvironment in support of tissue regeneration.


Tissue on a Chip

Reproducing living tissue outside the body

We are developing a novel “tissue on a chip” system that is being used in applications such as characterizing leukocyte interactions with the endothelium (rolling, adhesion, and migration) in physiologically realistic microenvironments. This novel microfluidic device provides a test bed for studies of advanced drug discovery and targeted drug delivery for a variety of therapeutic applications.