Join us for a special seminar presented by Dr. Vivek Kumar, PhD., Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department OF Bioengineering and Chemistry, Rice University, Houston, TX. The lecture will take place on Tuesday, September 30th, 2014, from 1-1:45pm in MEB 3147.

Evolving biomaterials to tune the body’s response.

Materials designed to tackle inflammatory diseases and pathological angiogenesis have attempted to address regenerative tissue engineering using top-down approaches, limited drug delivery and, traditionally, making minor improvements on materials developed over a half century ago. A prime example is vascular grafts that have yet to advance beyond Teflon® or Dacron since being fashioned for women’s stockings in the 1950s/1960s. The overarching goal of my investigations will be to address inflammation, angiogenesis and tissue regeneration. As a fundamental building block of mammalian species’, collagen hierarchical structure is critically important to biomaterial performance. Starting from microfabrication schemes to tissue engineered constructs, collagen micro and macro-structural organization will be discussed. Further work in synthetic collagen and smaller multidomain peptides with utility in modulating the inflammatory and angiogenic response will be presented. Ultimately these smart materials will aim to revolutionize the outmoded “cells, scaffold, growth factor” paradigm.

Biography: Vivek started his undergraduate research in biomedical engineering at Northwestern University, under the mentorship of Guillermo Ameer, Sc.D. After completion of his undergraduate work on synthetic biopolymers for cardiovascular and bone tissue engineering, Vivek attended the Georgia Institute of Technology for his Ph.D. in Bioengineering. During his graduate work with Elliot Chaikof, M.D., Ph.D., Vivek worked on vascular tissue engineering and soft tissue mimics. Towards the end of his Ph.D., Vivek moved with his advisor to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School. After the completion of his Ph.D. Vivek moved to start an post-doctoral fellowship with Jeffrey Hartgerink, Ph.D. at Rice University. At the Hartgerink lab, Vivek has developed drug delivery strategies and novel peptides that promote angiogenesis. Vivek’s current interests are to determine material requirements to favorably tune the body’s response.