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SEMINAR:Next-Generation Engineered Models of Physiological Tissue...

Speaker: Altuğ Özçelikkale, Middle East Technical University 

Title: Next-Generation Engineered Models of Physiological Tissue Microenvironment in Health and Disease

Date/Time:30 November 2022 / 13:40 - 14:30

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Abstract:Tissue microenvironment provides cells with a diverse set of physiological cues for them to survive, proliferate and carry out their biological functionality. Unlike the conventional petri dish typically used to study cells in vitro, the tissue microenvironment is highly complex, involving a hierarchically organized porous extracellular matrix with low mechanical stiffness as well as biochemical agents such as cytokines and growth factors that are transported across the cells and the tissue by various processes. In addition, the microenvironment is actively remodeled by cells resulting in tissue-dependent properties that are also distinct between health and disease and even across patients. Considering the critical role of the tissue microenvironment on cell biological activity, artificial recapitulation of the tissue microenvironment under preclinical laboratory settings is greatly desired. Such in vitro cell culture platforms with high physiological relevance will not only be useful for rapid and patient-specific evaluation of medical treatments such as chemotherapy, but also investigation of problems in cell biology that are challenging to study using traditional assays. Despite the growing interest in developing in vitro cell culture platforms that mimic the tissue microenvironment, the efforts in that direction have so far shown limited success. The primary challenges towards this goal include our lack of proper understanding of the mechanics and transport processes within the physiological settings as well as technical limitations of current tools to implement the physiological microenvironment in vitro. In this talk, I will address these challenges by providing insights gained from research in METU Engineered Biomicrosystems Laboratory as well as my earlier research.

Bio: Dr. Altuğ Özçelikkale is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering (ME) in Middle East Technical University (METU). He holds a B.S (2008) and an M.S (2010) degree in ME from METU and a Ph.D. (2015) degree from Purdue University. He pursued his Ph.D. while working at the Biotransport Phenomena Laboratory in the Purdue School of Mechanical Engineering. Before he joined METU in 2020, he was a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Physics, Biophysics Division and Institute for Physical Science and Technology at the University of Maryland College Park. He was also a Visiting Scholar at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Altuğ Özçelikkale’s research interests include biomechanics, biotransport, microfluidics, tissue engineering and mechanobiology. He is the head of METU Engineered Biomicrosystems Laboratory where he and his team develop novel engineered biomicrosystems for cell biological research, drug screening and high-fidelity evaluation of medical therapies. He is a recipient of Purdue Ross Doctoral Fellowship and TÜBİTAK 2232 International Fellowship for Outstanding Researchers.