Engineering Therapeutic Angiogenic Materials

01/22/2018 - 3:00pm
Tatiana Segura, Ph.D., Professor, Departments of Biomedical Engineering, Neurology and Dermatology, Duke University
Communicore, C1-15

Research in my laboratory over the past nine years has focused on the generation of hydrogel biomaterials to support the formation of a reparative niche within diseased or injured sites that can block or prevent inhibitory signals from dominating the repair process, while providing pro-repair signals that can guide new tissue formation. The goal of our approach is to use engineered materials to “unlock” the regenerative capacity of damaged or diseased tissue to promote repair. The premise of our approach is that all tissues in the body have the capacity to repair through local stem or progenitor cells, but that due to unfavorable environmental conditions during the normal healing process they are not able to do so. Our general strategy has been to combine our biomaterials engineering with designing materials that promote the formation of a space filling vascular plexus that could serve as part of a reparative niche directly at the wound site. The idea is that this vascular plexus would lay the groundwork for the recruitment of endogenous stem cells located in the local tissue surrounding the damaged area and generate an environment that would foster repair rather than scaring. In this talk we focus on our efforts to bioengineer hydrogels for brain repair after stroke. In particular our efforts to engineer injectable hydrogel materials that gel in situ and present multivalent aggregates of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), fibronectin fragment proteins, and the appropriate mechanical properties.

Professor Tatiana Segura received her BS degree in Bioengineering from the University of California Berkeley and her doctorate in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University. Her graduate work in designing and understanding non-viral gene delivery from hydrogel scaffolds was supervised by Prof. Lonnie Shea. She pursued post-doctoral training at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne under the guidance of Prof. Jeffrey Hubbell, where her focus was self-assembled polymer systems for gene and drug delivery. Professor Segura's Laboratory studies the use of materials for minimally invasive in situ tissue repair.  On this topic she has published over 60 peered reviewed publications. She has been recognized with the Outstanding Young Investigator Award from the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy, the American Heart Association National Scientist Development Grant, and the CAREER award from National Science Foundation.  She was Elected to the College of Fellows at the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineers (AIMBE) in 2017. She spent the first 11 years of her career at UCLA department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and has recently relocated to Duke University, where she holds appointments in Biomedical Engineering, Neurology and Dermatology.

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