Lonnie D Shea Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, McCormick Engineering and Applied Science, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Lonnie D Shea

Research Interest Keywords

Regenerative medicine, gene and drug delivery; systems biology, biomaterials, ovarian follicles, islet transplantation, nerve regeneration, cancer models

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Research Statement: Tissue development is a complex process that reflects an interplay between the environmental signals and the genetics of the cell. For regenerative medicine, progenitor cells can be cultured or seeded onto materials that present these environmental signals, among which includes adhesive proteins, mechanics, growth factors, hormones, and cytokines. We have developed biomaterials capable of localized gene delivery as a means to present multiple signals within the environment, which enables designing a system for regeneration. Biomaterials provide a structure that presents insoluble signals and can organize cell growth, and gene delivery induces the expression of inductive factors that drives the cellular processes leading to functional tissues. We are applying these systems to islet transplantation for diabetes therapy, nerve regeneration to treat paralysis, and ovarian follicle maturation or transplantation for the preservation of fertility. More recently, we have begun applying the biomaterial systems as a means to deliver antigens to promote tolerance, which has applications for autoimmune diseases and cell transplantation. We are also applying gene delivery as a tool in systems biology for the large scale, dynamic quantification of transcription factor activity. This system is applied to investigate the transcription network associated with normal and abnormal (i.e., cancer) development. Additionally, the drugs being developed for personalized therapies are being investigated to identify their mechanism of action, as well as compensatory pathways that can lead to the development of resistance. The cell array provides an enabling technology to molecularly dissect tissue formation or to promote functional tissue regeneration.


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