Brendan A. Harley
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
110 Roger Adams Laboratory, MC-MC 712
600 S. Mathews
Urbana, Illinois 61801
- Research Statement:
- ORTHOPEDIC AND SOFT TISSUE ENGINEERING
The typical mammalian response to chronic and acute injuries is characterized by a complex inflammatory response, cell-mediated wound contraction, and scar tissue synthesis (repair). However, introduction of a suitable biomaterial such as a scaffold into the wound can block cell-mediated contraction and induce regeneration of physiological tissue. Specific projects include the use of uniform/monolithic, gradient, and layered scaffolds technologies to induce regeneration of a wide range of orthopedic and soft tissues, such as cartilage, bone, tendon, ligament, and peripheral nerves, following injury.
CELL BEHAVIORAL CUES
Cell motility, contraction, proliferation, and extracellular matrix protein biosynthesis are critical components of many physiological and pathological processes as well as in tissue engineering applications. These behaviors are modulated by a complex, spatio-temporally integrated set of biophysical mechanisms influenced not only by the biochemistry of extracellular and intracellular signaling, but also by the biophysics of the surrounding extracellular environment and of cell-cell interactions. In our research, we use a series of highly porous collagen-based scaffolds as a model extracellular matrix (ECM) system to study how distinct features of the local microenvironment influences cell behavior.
STEM CELL NICHE ENGINEERING
Adult stem cells have the capacity to remain quiescent for long periods of time, produce more stem cells of the same type, or give rise to a defined set of mature differentiated progeny. The stem cell niche is the local microenvironment surrounding a stem cell, consisting of multiple cells, mechanical influences, as well as soluble and insoluble regulators, that modulates stem cell behavior. We use hematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cells in concert with imaging and scaffold technologies as a platform for studying microenvironmental cues on stem cell behavior and for optimizing porous biomaterials and in vitro culture systems for stem cell engineering.
MODELING CELLULAR MATERIALS
Cellular solids include engineering materials such as foams for structural and biomedical purposes and porous scaffolds for tissue engineering applications, as well as natural materials like wood and coral. The porous (cellular) structure of these materials gives rise to many distinct mechanical and material properties such as exceptional mechanical efficiency on a per weight basis. The complex geometry and behavior of these porous materials are difficult to describe exactly, however. In our research, we use cellular solids and poroelastic modeling techniques as analytical tools to describe mechanical and microstructural features of biological tissues, tissue engineering scaffolds and gels, and intracellular features of individual cells such as the cytoskeleton.
- Research Interests:
- Extracellular Matrix Analogs, Cell and Tissue Engineering
- For more information:
- Harley Group website
Honors, Recognition, and Outstanding Achievements:
- NSF CAREER award 2013 - 2018
- Presidentís Award, Research (Advocate of the Year); American Cancer Society of Illinois 2011
- Engineering Council Award for Excellence in Advising, College of Engineering, University of Illinois 2011
- University of Illinois, Teachers Ranked as Excellent 2009 - 2012
- Kirschstein National Research Service Award T32 Postdoctoral Fellowship, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, NIH 2006-2008
- Fellowship, MIT-Whitaker Health Science Fund 2003-2005
- Fellowship, Dupont/MIT Alliance 2000-2001