Events & Seminars > Event Details


4:00 pm
Room 304, Chemistry Building

Designing biomaterials for 3D hydrogel microenvironments and neural tissue engineering


Professor Kyle Lampe
Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Virginia

Hosted by: Professor Rebecca Pompano

Neural regeneration within the central nervous system (CNS) is a critical unmet challenge as brain and spinal cord disorders continue to be the leading cause of disability nationwide. Tissue engineering strategies present an innovative therapeutic approach for the delivery of cells, growth factors, and drugs to the local CNS microenvironment to restore lost function. Engineering microenvironments conducive to neuronal cell growth in vitro and regeneration in vivo requires control over several design parameters affecting neural stem cell (NSC) viability, proliferation, and differentiation into functional neurons and oligodendrocytes.

These challenges can be addressed through hydrogel materials that mimic native neural tissue. Designer multifunctional materials are well-suited as they support independent tuning of multiple biochemical and biophysical properties and allow three-dimensional (3D) encapsulation of neural cells to create a physiologically relevant engineered extracellular matrix. We are using both synthetic polymers and engineered proteins to create such 3D hydrogels with tunable stiffness and degradability. Our hydrogels are based on synthetic polymers like poly(ethylene glycol) and poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) or a recombinant elastin-like protein. Be carefully tuning the degradation rate, antioxidant properties, integrin-binding ligand density, and elastic modulus, we can engineer cell instructive and cell-responsive elements to directly influence stem cell differentiation and self-renewal. Our current work applies these concepts to the myelin-producing oligodendrocytes of the CNS, and their precursors, in an effort to enhance their maturation and therapeutic utility.

Short bio

Kyle Lampe is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at UVa. He was previously a Ruth L. Kirschstein NIH NRSA postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University in the department of Materials Science and Engineering. Kyle completed his Ph.D. and B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder and the Missouri University of Science and Technology (Rolla, MO), respectively. Kyle’s research interests include biomaterials, tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine within the central nervous system. Apart from his 3D cultivation of cells in the lab, he also sprouts interests in gardening, food, and traversing the outdoors on foot or mountain bike with his wife, Lisa, and dog, Maxwell.