People

 

Principal Investigator

Linda G. Griffith
S.E.T.I. Professor of Biological and Mechanical Engineering
Director, MIT Center for Gynepathology Research

griff @ mit . edu

 

Linda G. Griffith, PhD, is the School of Engineering Teaching Innovation Professor of Biological and Mechanical Engineering and MacVicar Fellow at MIT, where she directs the Center for Gynepathology Research and the “Human Physiome on a Chip” project supported by the DARPA/NIH-funded Microphysiological Systems Program. Dr. Griffith received a Bachelor’s Degree from Georgia Tech and a PhD degree from the University of California at Berkeley, both in chemical engineering. Dr. Griffith’s research is in the field of regenerative medicine and tissue engineering. Her laboratory, in collaboration with J. Upton and C. Vacanti, was the first to combine a degradable scaffold with donor cells to create tissue-engineered cartilage in the shape of a human ear. The 3D Printing Process she co-invented for creation of complex biomaterials scaffolds is used for manufacture of FDA-approved scaffolds for bone regeneration. She is also contributed new concepts to  nano-scale biophysical control of receptor engagement by biomaterials, and has developed and commercialized a microfluidic multi well bioreactor for 3D culture models of liver and other tissues.

She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, the Popular Science Brilliant 10 Award, NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, the MIT Class of 1960 Teaching Innovation Award, Radcliffe Fellow and several awards from professional societies. She has served as a member of the Advisory Councils for the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research and the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases at NIH. As chair of the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee for Biological Engineering at MIT, she led development of the new Biological Engineering SB degree program, which was approved in 2005 as MIT’s first new undergraduate major in 39 years.

Her recent work in endometriosis has been recognized by the Office of Research on Women’s Health at NIH, where she was selected to give the first Ruth Kirschstein Memorial Lecture (2010)  as well as the Endometriosis Foundation of America, where she was the Blossom Ball Basic Science awardee (2010).

 

Postdoctoral Associates and Fellows


Aereas Aung
Co-Advisor: Darrell Irvine
BS, Bioengineering (Biotechnology), University of California San Diego
PhD, Bioengineering, University of California San Diego

aeaung @ mit . edu

Perfused lymph node micro-reactor system to investigate immune responses
We are using microfabrication and fluidic technologies to create reactor systems for prolonged cultures of lymph nodes ex vivo.  Such platforms will provide greater transparency into the adaptive immune response thus allowing us to ask a plethora of novel questions.
 
 
 
 
 

Evan Chiswick
Co-Advisor: Doug Lauffenburger
BS, Biology, Keene State College
PhD, Immunology, Boston University School of Medicine

chiswick @ mit . edu

Systems Analysis of Inflammatory and Invasion Networks in Adenomyosis
Proteolytic and inflammatory activity are well coordinated temporal and spatial events that are necessary for healthy menstruation; the process of shedding excess endometrium from the uterus. Little is known about how these activities go awry in the pathogenesis of adenomyosis, a disease characterized by the presence of endometrial glands within the myometrium, leading to debilitating pain. My work will investigate how proteolytic and immune networks interact to enable the spread and persistence of endometrium deep within the myometrium.


Juan Gnecco, Postdoctoral Fellow
BS, Biotechnology, Rutgers University
PhD, Cellular and Molecular Pathology, Vanderbilt University

gnecco j s @ mit . edu

Modeling the immune-endocrine origins of endometriosis.
This project entails the development and applications of engineered 3D models of the female reproductive tract using synthetic hydrogels. Specifically, I am engineering a multi-culture model of the human endometrium that includes a vascular, immune and somatic components (stromal and epithelial organoids). My work investigates dysregulation of healthy endometrial tissues and endometriotic lesions by looking at cell-cell and organ-organ communication.

 

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Victor Hernandez-Gordillo
Co-Advisor: Rebecca Carrier (Northeastern University)
BS, Biotechnology, Universidad Autonoma de Chiapas, Mexico
MS, Plant Pathology/Bacterial Genetics, Oklahoma State University
PhD, Biological Science/Chemical Biology, Purdue University

vhernand @ mit . edu

Developing of Enhanced Microphysiological Intestinal Models
A major scientific focus of the project is to build a more physiological gut tissue structure that allows the incorporation of immune cells in contact with epithelial cells. Using functional biomaterials from our lab (and possibly other sources) we will design strategies to encapsulate immune cells that would be in close contact with the gut epithelial cells. In parallel, we will develop protocols to culture primary human gut cells or iPS-derived gut epithelial cells to use in the microphysiological intestinal model. Lastly, in collaboration with the microbiome team at MIT we will incorporate microbial cells into the microphysiological intestinal model system to build a more physiological gut tissue structure.


Katie Lamm, Postdoctoral Associate
BS, Biology, Xavier University
PhD, Molecular and Developmental Biology, University of Cincinnati

k y b lamm @ mit . edu

Engineering a synthetic 3D co-culture model of intestinal fibrosis
Using a synthetic polyethylene glycol(PEG)-based hydrogel system, I am engineering in vitro models of healthy and fibrotic intestinal co-cultures using primary, patient-derived fibroblasts and epithelial monolayers generated from 3D organoid culture.


Martin Trapecar, Postdoctoral Associate
Uni. Dipl. Ing. (Mac equivalent), Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of Maribor
MSc, Food Safety, University of Maribor
PhD, Biomedical Technology, University of Maribor

trapecar @ mit . edu

Developing a Gut-Liver-Brain physiomimetic system with integrated circulating Treg/Th17/MAIT cells
In my work I am adopting a novel milifluidic platform to study the interaction between microphysiological systems of the gut (primary epithelia, dendritic cells and macrophages), liver (primary hepatocytes and Kupffer cells), brain (iPS derived neurons, astrocytes and microglia) and  circulating CD4 T regulatory/Th17 cells as well as MAIT cells. Using this system, I am investigating the entanglement between microbes, metabolism and immunity during steady-state conditions, during the onset of Parkinson’s disease and acute inflammation through organ interaction studies, collection of high content data and systems biology.

 


Jessica Ungerleider, Postdoctoral Associate
BS, Biomedical Engineering, University of Virginia
MS, Bioengineering, University of California San Diego
PhD, Bioengineering, University of California San Diego

jessica u @ mit . edu

In vitro models of type 2 diabetes
In collaboration with researchers at the Whitehead Institute, we are engineering microphysiological systems to study the pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes in the liver with patient-specific cells using high throughput systems biology analyses.

 

 


Jianbo (Bob) Zhang, Postdoctoral Associate
MSc, Biophysics, Zhejiang University
PhD, Health Science and Technology, ETH Zurich

j b zhang @ mit . edu

In vitro gut microphysiological system with microbiota
Understanding chemical and molecular biological mechanisms of host-microbiome-diet interactions in health and diseases.

 

 

 

 


Graduate Students


 

alexb

Alex Brown
BS, Bioengineering, Lehigh University

atb @ mit . edu

Engineering 3D Microenvironments for Microvascular Systems
I am interested in the rational design of culture environments to promote the development of functional microvascular networks in 3D cell cultures. My research involves the application of biomaterials to study the effects of ECM properties and ligand presentation on vascular development in a dynamic microenvironment. I am generally interested in the integration of matrix mechanics, ECM signaling, and cell-cell communication within co-cultures to drive morphological response in complex cultures.


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Marianna Sofman
Co-Advisor: Paula Hammond
BS, Materials Science & Engineering and Biomedical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University

msofman @ mit . edu

Development of 3D Microvascular Environments for Cell Systems Using Synthetic Biomaterials
Engineering biomaterials with desired properties plays a central role in tissue engineering. The development of accurate 3D model systems is essential for the in vitro study of microvasular tissue networks, therapeutic applications, and testing drug toxicity. This research focuses on the synthesis and modification of synthetic PEG-based polymer microparticles that can mimic and support different cellular environments, such as liver, muscle, and neural cells. These techniques can be readily extended to incorporate fibroblast and endothelial cell encapsulation that can support such systems.

 

Pierre S.Phabmixay
Co-Advisor: Nicolas Fang
MS, Bioengineering, École Polytechnique X, Paris

pierresp @ mit . edu

Tissue Scaffolds with Advanced Physiologic Architecture
Investigating recently developed materials processing techniques to generate artificial tissue scaffolds that mimic organ-specific architecture found in the human body.

 


Alex Wang, 2013 Fulbright Fellowship

Alex Wang
BS, Chemical Engineering, Caltech
2013 Fulbright Fellowship

ajwang3 @ mit . edu

Design of Complex Liver Scaffolds
My work focuses on engineered scaffolds for primary liver cell culture in 2D and 3D formats.

 

 


Raphael Zonis
B. Eng., Mechanical Engineering, McGill University

r zonis @ mit . edu

Development of an Automated Oocyte Vitrification and Warming Platform
The “freezing” of women’s eggs both for banking and personal uses is becoming an increasingly used technique in the field of assisted reproductive technology. The throughput and robustness of this technique is currently limited by human error and inexperience. This work aims to create a fully automated platform capable of handling all steps of the egg freezing and warming process, from oocyte extraction to fertilization.

 


Technical Research Staff


hsinhwa

Hsinhwa Lee, Lab Manager

hsinhwa @ mit . edu

 


Megan Kenney, Research Support Associate
 

Kirsten Schneider, Technical Associate
BA, Chemistry, Mount Holyoke College

kirsten s @ mit . edu


Jason Velazquez, Technical Associate
BS, Biochemistry, Case Western Reserve University


Charles Wright, Technical Associate
BS, Biomedical Engineering, University of Connecticut 

c wright 7 @ mit . edu


Administrative Staff

lindsaypicturewebsite

Lindsay King, Administrative Assistant
BS, Health Sciences, University of Southern Maine

lindsayk @ mit . edu

 

 

Lab Alumni