Ashley Carson Brown
Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at NCSU and UNC at Chapel Hill
Biomimetic soft materials for augmenting wound repair
Location: EB1 Room 1011
Friday, April 22nd 2016 - 11:00 am
"Biomimetic" refers to imitating, or mimicking, biological models, systems, and/or components. By using biomimetic approaches, researchers can create materials in the lab that replicate certain desired features of biological systems to solve engineering problems and answer biological questions. In this talk, I will discuss the development and use of biomimetic soft materials for 1) augmentation of the natural wound healing process, and 2) evaluation of the contribution of altered tissue mechanics to molecular mechanisms involved in improper wound repair. I will first discuss the development of platelet-like particles (PLPs) for augmentation of hemostasis and wound healing. Natural platelets are critical to the cessation of bleeding following injury and promote subsequent wound healing; however, platelets are depleted in situations of traumatic injury and hemorrhage, leading to uncontrolled bleeding and the need for transfusions. By mimicking fundamental properties of natural platelets, including size, mechanical properties and binding to wound sites, we can create synthetic particles that have similar biological effects as natural platelets, such as augmentation of clotting in vivo following traumatic injury and induction of fibrin clot collapse following hemostasis. In additional to their utility as a hemostatic material, PLPs exhibit great potential for tissue engineering applications because of their ability to induce fibrin network collapse. The second part of my talk will focus on the use of biomimetic approaches to create 2D and 3D assemblies constructed from soft materials that mimic the mechanics and biological properties of natural tissues. These assemblies, which have carefully controlled material properties, can then be used to investigate cellular responses, such as cell adhesion and migration that lead to proper wound repair vs. scar tissue formation. By understanding the underlying cellular mechanisms that promote wound healing without scarring, we can subsequently design better materials for tissue repair.