We are interested in the knowledge and technologies that enhance our ability to control the regeneration of complex epithelial tissues of the internal organs such as liver. We apply these knowledge and technologies into diagnostic, therapeutic and drug testing applications. Fundamental studies : we focus on the systematic descriptions of the liver regeneration processes at the multi-cellular levels described by mechanical and biochemical networks. Applications: we use innovative in vitro cell-based models for hepatotoxicity testing of drugs and pathogens; quantitative descriptions of pathological features with optical imaging tools; and develop therapeutics for patients with liver diseases. While staff and students are given resources to explore new ideas, hypotheses and generate supporting preliminary findings, mature concepts are driven to completion by integrated teams. There are 3 focused thrusts as briefly outlined below:
1. QUANTIFYING 3D liver tissue niche to re-define tissue biology and pathology standards at cellular and molecular levels (This digital liver project involves development of high throughput and high content optical imaging instruments, animal models of liver diseases, and analysis of complex cellular and molecular image features; a translational biomedical research in collaboration with the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, or IBN; and the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology, SMART).
2. ENGINEERING 3D micro-liver tissue building blocks (fundamental studies on how mechanical and chemical signals in the extracellular microenvironments can synergies to establish inter-cellular tissue structures with meso-scale control of complex tissue structures and functions; a collaboration with the Mechanobiology Institute of Singapore, or MBI).
3. INTEGRATING 3D cell-based assays for testing drugs and pathogens (in vitro toxicology platforms in collaboration with major industry partners, and the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, or IBN).