The Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN) has four main thematic research areas; Smart and Function Materials, Connected Devices, Next Generation Energy Systems and Therapeutics and Theranostics. To showcase the work going on within these areas, we will be holding monthly WIN Thematic Seminars featuring our members and their research group members.
For this event in the series, Professor Evelyn Yim and post-doc fellow Yuan Yao from the Therapeutics and Theranostics theme will be giving a seminar on "Engineering cell niches with biomaterials topographies for tissue engineering applications".
Registration is required. If you have any questions or issues registering, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Engineering cell niches with biomaterials topographies for tissue engineering applications
Cells interact with biochemical signals and biophysical signals, such as rigidity and topography, in their extracellular matrix microenvironment. An ideal scaffold for tissue engineering application should mimic the microenvironment and present the appropriate biochemical and biophysical cues such as topographies to regulate cellular responses. Our research group is interested in studying the interfacial interactions of cells with the extracellular substrate and how to apply this knowledge to stem cell differentiation and tissue engineering applications. In this presentation, strategies on engineering cell-materials interface, such as incorporating topographies on biomaterials for different application for vascular and corneal repair will be discussed.
As example is vascular tissue-engineering application, luminal topographical pattern has been applied to tubular scaffold to enhance endothelialisation. Small diameter vascular grafts (< 6 mm internal diameter) are used in bypass or replacement of occluded peripheral arteries. However, there is a lack of commercially available, synthetic small diameter grafts that provides acceptable long-term patency. To improve clinical outcomes, it is necessary to enhance in situ endothelialization of small diameter vascular grafts. Topographical cues may be used to affect the change by influencing the behavior of endothelial cells, such as increasing their migration and proliferation capacities. Our group has fabricated tubular scaffold of poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA), which is a biocompatible and non-thrombogenic hydrogel, as a potential off-the-shelf small diameter vascular graft. Incorporation of luminal topographical pattern and biochemical surface modification have been shown to enhance endothelial cell adhesion while the hemocompatibility was not compromised.
In addition to incorporating topographical patterns in implantable vascular devices, we investigated the application of topographies to enhance human corneal endothelial cell growth. Examples of topography-modulation on cell behaviors for corneal tissue-engineering applications and corneal endothelial disease, the Fuchs Endothelial Dystrophy (FED), model will be also be discussed.
Professor Evelyn Yim is Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, and a member of the Waterloo Institute of Nanotechnology and Centre of Bioengineering and Biotechnology at the University of Waterloo. Experienced with nanofabrication technologies and stem cell culture, Evelyn and her group are interested to apply the knowledge biomaterial-stem cell interaction to direct stem cell differentiation and tissue regeneration for the applications in neural regeneration, vascular and corneal tissue engineering.
Evelyn Yim received her Ph.D. in the Biomedical Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University before performing undergoing her post-doctoral training at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University. Between 2007 and 2015 Evelyn worked in Singapore, where she held a joint appointment from the National University of Singapore, as faculty in the departments of Biomedical Engineering and Surgery, and the Mechanobiology Institute Singapore, as a principle investigator studying how chemical and biomechanical cues influence stem cell behavior. Evelyn joined the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Waterloo in 2016.
Yuan Yao is a post-doc fellow in Professor Evelyn Yim’s lab. She obtained her B.Eng and M.A.Sc. in Material Science and Engineering from Dalian Maritime University and Tianjin University in China. She received her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from University of Waterloo in 2021, under the supervision of Professor Evelyn Yim. Her Ph.D. thesis focused surface modification of biomaterials to improve performance of vascular grafts. Her research studies the effects of biochemical cues and the topographical cues on vascular endothelial and smooth muscle cell responses and blood compatibility.