Tissue engineering is an interdisciplinary field of study which engages large-scale analysis and high-throughput screening. Study of the communication between cells is a vital discipline which informs the basis for nearly all work done in this area. Experiments are driven by results, and parallel experimentation helps focus research.
I study the biological properties and regenerative capabilities of adult stem cells, with the goal of understanding disease processes and developing novel approaches to cell therapy and tissue repair.
My research is focused in the area of regenerative medicine, using biomaterials alone, cells alone, and cells and biomaterials together, using various strategies, including 3D printing, to achieve eventual biomedical therapies and diagnostics.
Polymer processing strategies to create bioactive scaffolds to guide cell and tissue function (e.g., cell adhesion, migration, proliferation, differentiation) both in vitro and in vivo. Special emphasis on strategies to guide regeneration of orthopaedic tissues.
Bioartificial pancreas- Development of procedures and devices for encapsulated islets: Areas of investigation include: biomaterials for cell encapsulation, scale up devices.
Regeneration of pancreatic β-cell in autoimmune diabetes: We are developing reliable and safe techniques for localized delivery of therapeutic immunomodulatory molecules in the autoimmune diabetic pancreas.
Bioengineering of endocrine pancreatic tissue: We decellularize human or porcine pancreas and use the pancreatic scaffold generated to engineer new islet tissues.
Bioartificial Ovary - Cell-Based Hormone Therapy: This essentially is an engineered ovary to deliver sex hormones in a more natural manner than drugs. Donor ovarian cells are “encapsulated” based on the natural architecture of the follicle.
My research focuses on the development of model tissue constructs or functional tissue units and the study of cell-substratum interactions. A primary goal of my research group is to design tissue constructs that mimic the native structure of tissues in vivo and to systematically probe cellular response to a variety of cues.
My main interest lies in network- and complexity-based neuroimaging, which aims to assess how systemic properties of the brain relate to behavioral and health outcomes. My main research focus has been on the development of novel fusions of statistical tools with network science methods for the analysis of whole-brain network data. Studying the brain as a whole and statistically accounting for the inherent complexity in the way various regions of the brain interact will engender a more biologically meaningful approach to understanding the root cause of a number of brain diseases and disorders.
The Computational Biomechanics Group headed by Dr. Untaroiu is part of the Center for Injury Biomechanics (CIB) at Virginia Tech, one of the leading research entities in the world in the area of injury biomechanics. Untaroiu’s group use a multidisciplinary approach in solving various real-world impact biomechanics problems. Our current projects include the development and validation of pedestrian human models with different anthropometries for automotive manufactures, and the development and validation of a lower limb dummy finite element model for under-body blast events for the Army Research Lab.
In the Verbridge Laboratory for Integrative Tumor Ecology (LITE), we take a highly interdisciplinary approach to both understanding cancer progression, and developing novel targeted therapies. Our current NIH-supported research is focused on two key topics: 1) leveraging the altered physical properties of tumor tissues, particularly the altered electrical capacitance of malignant cells, to enable their preferential destruction, and 2) analyzing the role of tissue-resident bacteria in regulating tumor cell stress response during tumor development and therapy. The overarching theme running through this work is the development of cutting edge tissue engineered models of the tumor microenvironment to analyze key processes and interactions which would be intractable in vivo.
- Masoud Agah, “Scaffold Fabrication & Engineering”
- Costin Untaroiu, "Material Properties and Comparative Material Models of Human Tissues"
- Pam Vandevord, "Using Novel Biomaterials to Repair Nerve Tissue After Injury"
- Scott Verbridge, "In-vitro, Microphysiologically Accurate Tumor Models"
- Joel Stitzel, "Electrospinning"
- Mark Van Dyke, "Burn treatment, Bone Regeneration, Neuronal Tissue Regeneration"
- Shay Soker, "Cells and Biomaterials for Regenerative Medicine Applications"
- Abby Whittington, " Rebuilding Tissues Through Scaffolds and Drug Delivery"
- Padma Rajagopalan, “Hepatic Tissue Engineering”