Lijie Grace Zhang’s Lab

The Bioengineering Laboratory for Nanomedicine and Tissue Engineering

Research

Our Nanomedicine and Tissue Engineering lab applies a range of interdisciplinary technologies and approaches in nanotechnology, 3D nano/microfabrication, tissue engineering, stem cells, drug delivery and biomechanics to create biologically inspired complex tissue scaffolds and investigate their efficacy for healing complex tissues in vitro and in vivo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Text Box: Biologically Inspired Nanomaterials 
Text Box: Stem Cell Therapy for Tissue Regeneration
Text Box: Sustained and Targeted Drug Delivery Systems for Biomedical Applications
Text Box: Novel Breast Cancer Therapy via Cold Plasma

Since natural tissue is mainly nanometer in dimension and various cells directly interact with nanostructured extra-cellular matrices, the biomimetic features and excellent physiochemical properties of nanomaterials play a key role in guiding various tissue repair and regeneration. Our lab has designed a series of innovative biologically inspired nanomaterials including nanotubes, nanofibers, nanospheres and nanoparticles which can mimic the natural nanostructured and hierarchical tissue extra-cellular matrix to provide a biomimetic environment for cell growth and tissue regeneration.

 As promising progenitor cells for tissue regeneration, stem cells can self renew and differentiate into multiple cell types and tissues in human body. One of the main challenges in current stem cell research is how to selectively differentiate and effectively deliver stem cells into favorable cell types at injury sites in order to regenerate desirable tissue. We are interested in controlling stem cell differentiation and developing engineered stem cell based scaffolds for tissue regenerations. Various nano to micro-structured scaffolds are fabricated in the lab for controlling stem cell differentiation.

In this project, we are interested in developing more efficacious nano drug delivery   systems and investigating their drug loading efficiency and long-term drug release rates for various biomedical applications.

 

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women. It is estimated that 226,870 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in the United States and 39,510 women will die of the disease in 2012, according to the American Cancer Society. In this project, we will apply an emerging and innovative technique--Cold non-thermal atmospheric plasma to address the limitations of current cancer and chemotherapy treatments.

 

Text Box: 3D/4D Bioprinting for Complex Tissue Regeneration

As an emerging and most promising technique, 3D bioprinting offer greater precision to control the internal architecture of a scaffold, print complicated structures that are continuous and form one solid macrostructure. In our lab, we have built four 3D bioprinters: Stereolithography, Fused Deposition Modeling, Bioplotting and Inkjet bioprinting systems. Based on CAD models reconstructed from noninvasive CT or MRI images, our 3D bioprinters can easily fabricate a predesigned patient-specific tissue construct in a layer-by-layer manner, which would allow the scaffold to perfectly integrate with the wound site and expedite tissue regeneration with lessened recovery time. Currently we focus on 3D/4D bioprinting cells and biomaterials into novel patient-specific complex cartilage, neural and vascular tissue and evaluate them in vitro and in vivo.