The lab, directed by Jeroen Rouwkema, focuses on tuning the local mechanical and chemical micro-environment in order to control development and organization of vascularized engineered tissues. Adding a vascular network to an engineered tissue is a promising method to enhance tissue integration and survival after implantation. The engineered vascular network can connect to the vasculature of the patient, resulting in a faster perfusion with blood and therefore a better supply of nutrients and oxygen.
The lab consists of three pillars, which each concentrate on a specific aspect to reach the common goal:
- To engineer tissue units using novel fabrication technology in order to localize distinct micro-environments.
- To develop computational models to predict the mechanical and chemical micro-environment due to external deformations and fluid flows, and subsequent models to predict tissue development based on this environment.
- To develop micro-bioreactor screening systems to experimentally elucidate the effects of multiple combined mechanical and chemical signals on cell behavior and tissue development