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.

 
 
 

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.


Juan Gnecco
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.


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.


Martin Trapecar
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.

 

Alex Wang
BS, Chemical Engineering, Caltech
MPhil, Materials Research, Imperial College London
PhD, Biological Engineering, MIT

ajwang3 @ mit . edu

Engineering physiological liver models
In vitro human liver models are becoming increasingly crucial for disease modeling and drug development. I take a design principle-driven approach to engineer more physiologically relevant 3D liver models, focusing on microenvironmental parameters influencing physiological functions.


Jianbo (Bob) Zhang
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


Ellen Kan
Co-advisor: Roger Kamm
BS, Biomedical Engineering, Yale University
NSF Graduate Research Fellow

ellen kan @ mit . edu 

Towards Building a Vascularized Model of Endometriotic Lesions             
Endometriosis is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects up to 10% of women of reproductive age around the world, but its etiology and pathogenesis are poorly understood, resulting in only limited options for treatment. My project is focused on creating a vascularized model of the endometriotic lesion microenvironment. By using this model to study the interplay of hormones and the immune system in endometriosis, we hope to better elucidate disease progression and identify relevant targets for drug development.


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


Thomas Donaghey, Lab Manager
t don @ mit . edu

 

Kira Buttrey, Research Assistant
BS, Bioengineering, MIT, expected 2023
k buttrey @ mit . edu

 

 

 


Administrative Staff

 

Lindsay King, Administrative Assistant
lindsayk @ mit . edu