Today, Meg successfully defended her thesis proposal, “Design and Investigation of Temperature Stable Nanoparticles to Aid Clotting”. She did a wonderful job and made the Laviklab very proud. Well done, Meg!
Today, for lunch, we went out and had a celebration for our newly minted Dr. Shoffstall. Good food, laughter, and a good bit of ice cream were had by all.
Today, Andrew defended his thesis entitled The Use of Synthetic Platelets to Augment Hemstasis
It was a brilliant presentation, and he defended his work beautifully. Well done, Dr. Shoffstall!
After the defense, we had a lab party complete with cake. (Everything is better with cake.)
As is the tradition in the lab, we had a big lab lunch on December 17th. This year, the lab book (given to all the members of the lab) was The Elephant Whisperer. The lunch is a celebration of the members of the lab who work their tails off and make the lab an incredible place to work and discover what we all hope will be new treatments for injury and disease.
We anticipate looking for 4-5 undergrads to join the lab this year. Interviews are scheduled for the first day of the Spring term (Jan 14) by emailing Dr. Lavik. We are looking for students of any year who are willing to commit at least a year (Spring, Summer, Fall) to the lab and apply for Source funding. (Longer is always desired) Several of our undergraduate students have been authors on papers and presented at national meetings.
Our recent work looking at the impact of neural progenitors on the chimerism of engineered vascular networks was just accepted to Plos One.
Vessels are a critical and necessary component of most tissues, and there has been substantial research investigating vessel formation and stabilization. Several groups have investigated coculturing endothelial cells with a second cell type to promote formation and stabilization of vessels. Some have noted that long-term vessels derived from implanted cocultures are often chimeric consisting of both host and donor cells. The questions arise as to whether the coculture cell might impact the chimeric nature of the microvessels and can modulate the density of donor cells over time. If long-term engineered microvessels are primarily of host origin, any impairment of the host’s angiogenic ability has significant implications for the long-term success of the implant. If one can modulate the host versus donor response, one may be able to overcome a host’s angiogenic impairment. Furthermore, if one can modulate the donor contribution, one may be able to engineer microvascular networks to deliver molecules a patient lacks systemically for long times. To investigate the impact of the cocultured cell on the host versus donor contributions of endothelial cells in engineered microvascular networks, we varied the ratio of the neural progenitors to endothelial cells in subcutaneously implanted poly(ethylene glycol)/poly-L-lysine hydrogels. We found that the coculture of neural progenitors with endothelial cells led to the formation of chimeric host-donor vessels, and the ratio of neural progenitors has a significant impact on the long term residence of donor endothelial cells in engineered microvascular networks in vivo even though the neural progenitors are only present transiently in the system. We attribute this to the short term paracrine signaling between the two cell types. This suggests that one can modulate the host versus donor contributions using short-term paracrine signaling which has broad implications for the application of engineered microvascular networks and cellular therapy more broadly.
Zach Galliger and Allie Kolberg both presented fantastic posters, Andrew Shoffstall gave a talk, and Dr. Lavik gave an invited talk at BMES. Zach and Allie’s posters focused on using the synthetic platelets as drug delivery vehicles, Andrew’s talk focused on improving survival following trauma with synthetic platelets, and Dr. Lavik’s talk focused on developing translatable technologies such as technologies for ocular delivery and hemostatic nanoparticles.