Cell function is controlled by the totality of the 3D environment. In particular, the extracellular matrix (ECM) plays an important role in tissues by providing and regulating biochemical and mechanical cues that guide cell function. Our laboratory focuses on how cells interact with the 3D protein matrix around them, and how these interactions can be used to develop better biomaterials and engineered tissues. The biologically-derived proteins collagen and fibrin are of particular interest, due to their role as structural proteins in tissues and the range of effects that these polymers can have on cell function. We are developing composite biomaterials that combine the structural and biochemical features of these polymers, and which also incorporate other proteins that direct cell function.

Follow the Research link to learn more about our work on understanding and controlling cell phenotype and function in 3D engineered extracellular matrices consisting of biological composite biomaterials. Current projects include biomaterials for cell delivery, defined extracellular microenvironments for directed stem cell differentiation, and new methods for characterizing the composition and mechanical properties of protein-based biomaterials.

About the PI:

Dr. Jan Stegemann is Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan. He earned BS and MS degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Toronto, and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Prior to earning his doctoral degree, he spent five years at Boston-based W.R. Grace & Co. (later called Circe Biomedical), where his work focused on cell-based bioartificial organs. Dr. Stegemann is highly active in several professional societies related to tissue engineering, including BMES, SFB, and TERMIS. He has developed and teaches courses in biomaterials, cell-matrix interactions, tissue engineering, as well on the commercialization of biomedical technologies.