Bio-X Graduate Student Fellow

Awarded in 2017
Home Department: Mechanical Engineering
Faculty Advisors: Ovijit Chaudhuri (Mechanical Engineering) and Nidhi Bhutani (Orthopaedic Surgery)

Research Title: Utilizing Hydrogels with Fast Stress Relaxation for Induction and Expansion of iPSCs

Research Description: Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) hold great promise for biomedicine. iPSCs provide a theoretically limitless source of patient-derived cells of any type for use in biomedical applications such as tissue and organ engineering, drug screening, or cell therapies. However, limited reprogramming efficiency and expansion of iPSCs have restricted wide application of iPSCs. Biophysical cues or engineered biomaterials for 3D culture may play a critical role in overcoming these limitations. Photo of graduate student Hong-pyo Lee in the lab, using a large microscope.But, the materials used currently in these studies are almost purely elastic, whereas physiological environments are viscoelastic, in which mechanical stresses are relaxed over time. Further, the impact of more physiologically relevant viscoelastic environments on induction and expansion of iPSCs remains unknown. Hong-Pyo will investigate how the viscoelasticity regulates both iPSCs induction and expansion, and the underlying mechanisms.  The proposed work will reveal the relationship between the hydrogel stress relaxation and induction of iPSCs, which requires expertise in both mechanics of biomaterials, and iPSC biology.


Hong-Pyo is a founder and CTO at MEDiC Life Sciences.