Pictured above is an image of  breast cancer organoids

Professor Elisabeth Prince, along with an interdisciplinary team of researchers from the University of Toronto and Duke University, have developed hydrogels that imitate human tissue. The synthetic material is made from cellulose nanocrystals, which are extracted from wood pulp. The material is designed to replicate the fibrous nanostructures and properties of human tissues, thereby recreating its unique mechanical properties.

Prince, the Director of Prince Polymer Materials Lab designs synthetic biomimetic hydrogels for biomedical applications. The hydrogels have a nanofibrous architecture with large pores for nutrient and waste transport. The hydrogel was initially designed when Prince was a PhD student under Dr. Eugenia Kumacheva at the University of Toronto in collaboration with Dr. Michael Rubinstein from Duke University.

This research aims to examine the efficacy of cancer treatments on mini tumor organoids before giving the treatment to the patient. This could pave the way for customized cancer treatments. The study was conducted in collaboration with Professor David Cescon at the Princess Margaret Cancer Center.

Prince’s research group at the University of Waterloo is developing similar biomimetic hydrogels to be injectable for drug delivery and regenerative medical applications.

Her research aims to use injected filamentous hydrogel material to regrow heart tissue damaged after a heart attack. She utilizes nanofibers as a scaffolding for the regrowth and healing of damaged heart tissue. The goal of the research is to develop an injectable gel that can repair the damage caused to the heart when a patient suffers a heart attack.

The next step in Prince’s research is to use conductive nanoparticles to make electrically conductive nanofibrous gels that can be utilized to heal heart and skeletal muscle tissue.

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