Current Research and Scholarly Interests
One of the key characteristics of life is the dynamic cross-scale interactions across different levels of biological organization, such as molecules, genes, cells, tissues, organs and an organism, in their own multi-scaled environmental contexts. The dynamic property of these interactions results in variation in physiological traits across individuals, shaping individuality of an organism. The overall research direction of my laboratory is to establish in vitro experimental platforms in which we can investigate this cross-scale interaction efficiently to develop personalized therapeutic strategies. Because many aspects of cross-scale interactions are mediated by blood circulation and crosstalk between the vasculature and perivascular tissues, our current efforts are focused on engineering the functional vasculatures in pathophysiological conditions of various human tissues. We have successfully developed in vitro experimental models equipped with the capacity of real-time monitoring of individual cell behaviors, which enables effective identification of the vascular routes that induce desirable behaviors of endogenous or exogenously grafted cells. Our in vitro model allows precise and independent control of the experimental parameters in highly time- and cost- efficient ways and facilitates the development of therapeutic and preventive treatment strategies in consideration of the phenotype variations across the patient population.