Tissues and organs often fail to regenerate after significant damage, which results in a loss of normal function. For example, the formation of scar tissue to skin or muscle following injury can lead to discomfort, pain, and loss of mobility. Our lab engineers biomaterials to work with the surrounding tissue as regenerative interventions to improve clinical outcomes. We believe in making clinical solutions that are accessible to as many patients as possible by working with raw materials that can be inexpensively sourced and avoiding designs that rely on delivery of complex biologicals (e.g., growth factors) that would drive up pricing.
We engineer our biomaterials primarily by focusing on two interactions between our biomaterials and surrounding tissues: immunomodulation and accelerated material-tissue integration. For our purposes, immunomodulation is achieved by convincing the immune system that an injury is less severe than it is, thus lowering local inflammation, limiting fibrosis (i.e., scar formation), and promoting regeneration. To promote material-tissue integration, we create non-uniform materials that rearrange the body’s own biological signals to direct cell movement via a naturally occurring process known as chemotaxis.
MAP PLATFORM TECHNOLOGY
Microporous Annealed Particle (MAP) gel, invented by Dr. Griffin, is a synthetic injectable material that forms an open pore scaffold in situ, promoting extensive tissue ingrowth and accelerated wound closure. MAP gel is composed of polyethylene glycol (PEG) microspheres that form a solid, open pore scaffold, resulting in a minimal immune response. MAP gel has shown tissue integration due to interconnected microporosity, which can have tunable physical and degradation properties.
Our research focuses on controlling MAP surface chemistry, porosity, and delivery in order to promote tissue integration and regeneration.
Currently, our lab is designing materials to address multiple clinical problems, including diabetic skin ulcers, vocal cord reconstruction, post-intubation esophageal injury, skeletal muscle damage, cartilage repair, and type-1 diabetes.