Lauren Flynn, Ph.D., P.Eng.
Department of Chemical & Biochemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering
Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry
B.A.Sc. - Engineering Science, University of Toronto
Ph.D. - Chem Eng & Applied Chemistry/IBBME, University of Toronto
Tissue Engineering with Adipose-derived Stem Cells and Naturally-derived Bioscaffolds
Research in the Flynn lab is focused on the application of adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) in new cell-based therapeutic strategies for soft tissue augmentation and wound healing, therapeutic angiogenesis, and musculoskeletal regeneration. As a regenerative cell source, fat is abundant, easily accessible, and uniquely expendable. In culture, ASCs proliferate rapidly and can be stimulated to differentiate into mature bone, cartilage, adipose, and muscle cells, amongst other lineages. In terms of regeneration, ASCs can synthesize extracellular matrix (ECM) components, and can remodel tissue-engineered constructs to facilitate new tissue development. ASCs also indirectly modulate regeneration by secreting an array of paracrine factors that promote angiogenesis, limit apoptosis, enhance endogenous stem cell recruitment, and mediate the inflammatory response. While there is great promise, many questions remain in terms of how to safely and effectively apply ASCs in tissue-specific cell-based therapies before these methods can be advantageously translated to the clinical setting. A better understanding of the cell response within 3-D microenvironments is needed in order to achieve predictable regeneration and long-term functional recovery. To address these key challenges, the three central themes of ongoing research in the Flynn lab are:
(1) The design of dynamic culture systems for human ASC expansion
(2) Decellularized bioscaffolds for soft tissue regeneration and wound healing
(3) The development of tissue-specific injectable ASC delivery strategies
Keywords: Tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, biomaterials, adipose-derived stem cells, extracellular matrix, bioreactors, cell culture, proliferation and differentiation.
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