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Our laboratory focuses on developing novel microsystems for cell cultivation and analysis.  The vision is to develop microsystems that allow both stimulation of living cells and observations of changes in cell function.  A significant effort is diverted toward creating novel tools for defining and screening cell-microenvironment interactions.  We are employing microarrays of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins or growth factors to define cell-substrate interactions in a multiplexed fashion and help expedite discovery of inducers of cell differentiation.  In addition, we are developing novel multi-phenotype cell cultures that allow cultivation of several cell types on the same surface.  Our goal is to complement these new cell culture tools with bioanalytical approaches that allow detecting changes in cell phenotype and genotype in the context of local microenvironment.  As a part of this effort, our laboratory is integrating electrochemical and optical micro-biosensors with cells for detection of extracellular metabolite fluxes (e.g. glucose, hydrogen peroxide, pH).  In addition, we are developing affinity biosensors for local detection of tissue-specific proteins secreted by the cells cultured in the engineered microenvironment.  Our work is highly interdisciplinary involving aspects of microfabrication, surface engineering, biomaterials, biosensors and cell/molecular biology.

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