2022 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

Home Department: Bioengineering
Mentor: Sarah Heilshorn (Materials Science & Engineering)

“Biomaterials to Improve Intestinal Organoid Culture ”

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a prominent component of the native intestinal matrix that is implicated in intestinal stem cell production. Thus, Briana seeks to explore its impact on intestinal organoid stem cell populations grown within an engineered matrix that includes HA. She hypothesizes that intestinal stem cells will become enriched over time in organoids grown in HA-containing matrices compared to those grown in the current standard (Matrigel) or control matrices that lack HA. To test this hypothesis, she will culture mouse and human organoids, with and without inhibitors of HA signaling, and characterize morphology, gene expression, and protein expression; showcasing the importance of HA in growing intestinal stem-cell derived organoids.