Headshot portrait of Kiara Cui - Bio-X Bowes Fellow
Bio-X Graduate Student Fellow

Awarded in 2018
Home Department: Chemical Engineering
Faculty Advisors: Alexander Dunn (Chemical Engineering), Gerald Fuller (Chemical Engineering), Kyle Loh (Developmental Biology), and David Myung (Ophthalmology)

Research Title: Patterning stem cell differentiation and investigating tear film stability: fluid mechanics-based in vitro models of development and disease

Research Description: Implantation is a key but poorly understood step in mammalian development. Current in vitro methods provide a limited observational window and Photo of graduate student Kiara Cui in the lab, holding a glass plate with the Bio-X logo laser-cut into the surface. fail to capture biochemical signaling dynamics crucial for successful implantation in vivo. To address these issues, Kiara has engineered a novel fluidic perfusion culture device that can mimic in utero biochemical, physical, and extracellular matrix (ECM) cues and is compatible with live imaging. By integrating knowledge from chemical engineering and embryology, this project aims to test the hypotheses that temporally varying microenvironmental elements are sufficient to reproduce essential implantation features in vitro.  This work will help elucidate mechanisms behind diseases of pregnancy and improve processes such as in vitro fertilization.    


Kiara is a research scientist in Formulation and Process Development at Gilead Sciences, a biopharmaceutical company focusing on the development of therapeutics for HIV, viral hepatitis, emerging viruses, oncology, and inflammatory diseases.