BME Seminar: Jason Burdick

Nov 21
10:00 AM
Room 218, Whitaker Hall

Jason Burdick, PhD
Robert D. Bent Professor of Bioengineering
University of Pennsylvania

Engineering Hyaluronic Acid Hydrogels for Biomedical Applications

Hydrogels represent a class of biomaterials that have great promise for the repair of tissues and to probe questions related to cellular microenvironments, particularly due to our ability to engineer their biophysical and biochemical properties. Hydrogels can provide instructive signals to cells through material properties alone (e.g., mechanics, degradation, structure), via chemical signals presented by the hydrogel, or through the release of therapeutics that can influence morphogenesis and tissue repair. Our laboratory is particularly interested in the engineering of hydrogels from hyaluronic acid (HA), where chemical modification – either through non-covalent self-assembly or through stable covalent crosslinking – is used to engineer hydrogel properties. We have recently explored how the extent and type of HA modification influences the ability of these molecules to interact with cellular HA receptors (e.g., CD44).

Towards the understanding of cellular microenvironments in 3D or for specific applications (e.g., cartilage formation), we encapsulate cells within hydrogels. We have explored how the introduction of peptides (e.g., HAV to mimic N-cadherin interactions) influences the chondrogenesis of mesenchymal stromal cells, including through the development of high-throughput screening platforms where optimal cellular environments can be easily identified. After encapsulation and early in culture, cells deposit their own extracellular matrix, which temporally modulates this engineered interface. We are utilizing metabolic labelling techniques to visualize this matrix and to better understand how this evolving/new cell-matrix interface influences cell behavior, such as during chondrogenesis or in mechanobiology. Lastly, we are developing 3D printing techniques to translate these findings of cell-hydrogel interactions towards therapeutic applications, including in the development of printing techniques that expand on the potential materials that can be printed.

Jason A. Burdick, PhD is the Robert D. Bent Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Burdick's research involves the development of hydrogels through techniques such as photocrosslinking and self-assembly and their processing using approaches such as electrospinning and 3D printing. The applications of his research range from controlling stem cell differentiation through material cues to fabricating scaffolding for regenerative medicine and tissue repair. Jason currently has over 240 peer-reviewed publications and has been awarded a K22 Scholar Development and Career Transition Award through the National Institutes of Health, an Early Career Award through the Coulter Foundation, a National Science Foundation CAREER award, a Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering, and an American Heart Association Established Investigator Award. He was recently awarded the Clemson Award through the Society for Biomaterials and the George H. Heilmeier Faculty Award for Excellence in Research. He is on the editorial boards of Tissue Engineering, Biofabrication, and Journal of Biomedical Materials Research A, and is an Associate Editor for ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering.

Organizer / Host: Nathaniel Huebsch