Our laboratory (The Heylman Lab) is developing strategies for engineering tissue outside of the body. All tissues in the body receive nutrients and remove waste via an intricate network of blood vessels called the circulatory system. Like native tissues, all engineered tissues require this blood vessel transport system to properly mimic the in vivo tissue environment. Therefore, the aim of this project is to grow three-dimensional networks of blood vessels in vitro. These vessel networks will provide the foundation for tissue-on-a-chip systems when embedded in microfluidic chips being developed by other members of the lab. The scope of this project is to establish the necessary combination of cell types, extracellular matrix proteins, and nutrients to enable the self-assembly of 3D vessel networks in vitro for completion. This hands-on research will contribute to a publication and culminate in a completed Master’s thesis.
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