Materials Science and Engineering
3112 Micro and Nanotechnology Lab
208 N. Wright Street
Urbana, Illinois 61801
- Research Statement:
- Our group's broad aim is to develop innovative approaches to stem cell and tissue engineering research. Coming from a biomaterials perspective, we employ surface chemistry techniques, nano-/micro- fabrication, and synthetic and natural materials to design model systems that mimic the structure and composition of the cell and tissue microenvironment towards elucidating biological function. The materials and systems developed in the group serve as novel tools for fundamental biological research and for the fabrication of clinically relevant biomaterials.
One of our primary research efforts is understanding the chemical, physical and biological cues in the stem cell microenvironment that promote "stemness" or direct specific differentiation programs. This is important because understanding the signals that guide cells to form and maintain tissues during normal and pathological processes is critical for the design of materials for regenerative therapies. Some general examples of our approach to exploring the cell and tissue microenvironment are as follows:
* The chemical microenvironment - Tailored substrates to explore the importance of extracellular matrix composition on cell fate.
* The physical microenvironment - Materials for investigating cell and tissue response to geometry, micro- and nano-topography, and mechanical properties.
* The biological microenvironment - New strategies to study and manipulate biological signaling (i.e. paracrine and juxtacrine signaling) involved in regulating tissue morphogenesis and homeostasis.
Research in the group is highly interdisciplinary and is driven by both biological hypothesis and technology development. Students in the lab gain practical experience in organic synthesis, surface chemistry and characterization, soft lithography, nanomaterial synthesis, and cell and molecular biology techniques.
- Research Interests:
- self-assembled monolayers; surface chemistry; biomaterials; hydrogels; microengineering; nanostructured materials; tissue engineering; stem cells; reprogramming; epigenetics
- Undergraduate Research Opportunities:
- My laboratory currently hosts 4 Materials Science and Engineering undergraduate students performing research: 1 junior and 3 sophomores. Two of these students are underrepresented minority females that are part of the ISUR program. The undergraduate students are supervised by graduate students and are working on mini-research projects under the broad aims of the graduate students specific research project.
- For more information:
- MatSE Faculty Webpage
- Kilian Lab Webpage
Honors, Recognition, and Outstanding Achievements:
- The Environmental Management Pre-college Analytical Chemistry Program (EMPAC), University of Washington (1992)
- Poster Prize, The International Conference on Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Brisbane Australia (2006)
- Cornforth Medal, The Royal Australian Chemical Institute (2008)
- U Committee Prize, University of New South Wales (2009)
- Australian Research Council Eureka Prize Finalist for Excellence in Research by an Interdisciplinary Team (2011)
Honors, Recognition, and Outstanding Achievements for Research:
- Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, National Institutes of Health