Our collaborations

We are fortunate to collaborate with a diverse group of engineers, scientists, and clinicians. Through collaboration, we are able to elevate the innovation and impact of our research. Below we highlight many of the collaborative projects we have had the opportunity to contribute to, along with links to relevant papers and faculty research pages!

A ferret model of preterm brain injury

The ferret is an attractive model species as it has a gyrified brain with a similar white-to-gray matter ratio as the human brain. The lab of Tommy Wood and Sunny Juul developed a model of encephalopathy of prematurity in postnatal-day (P) 10 ferret kits, which are considered to be developmentally equivalent to infants of 24–26 weeks’ gestation. The Nance lab helped analyze image-based assessments of ferret gait.

Nanofluidic systems to increase drug distribution in tumors

Tumor uptake and biodistribution of immunotherapy is associated with clinical response as well as toxicity. Alessandro Grattoni's lab investigated the biodistribution of an agonistic anti-CD40 monocolonal antibody (CD40 mAb) when sustainably delivered via an intratumoral nanofluidic drug-eluting seed (NDES) and  evaluated it in comparison to systemic or direct
intratumoral administration. The Nance lab performed imaging and volume of distribution analysis of CD40 mAb in excised tumors.

Extracellular vesicle role in modulating APCs

Human semen contains trillions of extracellular vesicles (SEV) similar in size to sexually transmitted viruses and loaded with potentially bioactive miRNAs, proteins and lipids. Lucia Vojtech and Florian Hladik found that SEV efficiently bound to and entered antigen-presenting cells (APC) and SEV exposure to APC alone markedly reduced antigen-specific cytokine production, degranulation and cytotoxicity by antigen-specific memory CD8+ T cells. The Nance lab labeled SEVs with quantum dots and imaged SEV localization.

3D printed hydrogel tubes can model vascular endothelium

Engineered tubular constructs made from soft biomaterials are employed in a myriad of applications in biomedical science. Potential uses of these constructs range from vascular grafts to conduits for enabling perfusion of engineered tissues and organs. The labs of Alkashim Nelson and Ashleigh Theberge reported a methodology in which customized coaxial nozzles are 3D printed using commercially available stereolithography (SLA) 3D printers. They show these tubes can be functionalized with collagen I to enable cell adhesion, and human umbilical vein endothelial cells can be cultured on the luminal surfaces of these tubes. The Nance lab performed imaging of the extruded tubes.

Group B streptococcus exploits vaginal epithelial exfoliation

Thirteen percent of pregnancies result in preterm birth or stillbirth, accounting for fifteen million preterm births and three and a half million deaths annually. Using both in vitro and murine models of vaginal colonization and ascending infection, Lakshmi Rajagopal's lab demonstrate how a vaginal microbe, group B streptococcus (GBS), which is frequently associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes, uses vaginal exfoliation for ascending infection. The Nance lab performed imaging using nanoparticles to show increased epithelial permeability in the presence of GBS.