Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering; Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science
Tumor Invasion, Metastasis & Angiogenesis,Women's Cancer
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Research in the Shea lab has focused on application of engineering tools to analyze or direct cellular function to promote tissue formation. Biomaterial design and development is combined with drug delivery technology to create three-dimensional culture environments that regulate cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions, and to provide controlled release of protein and DNA. These systems have been employed in the area of regenerative medicine, such as hydrogels for the culture of immature ovarian follicles, which is intended to preserve fertility for female cancer patients.However, we also employ these systems to investigate the tumor microenvironment and its impact on cancer initiation and progression. Hydrogels are being applied for the culture of cancer cells, which can be used to understand the basis for cell migration and invasion.
In addition to creating these controlled environments, DNA delivery is being developed to cell arrays for large scale reporting on the dynamic activity of transcription factors during cancer initiation and progression.