UMBC College of Engineering and Information Technology
Chemical, Biochemical & Environmental Engineering

Our current research focuses on designing biomaterials and sensors for tissue engineering applications. This multidisciplinary area couples expertise in engineering, life sciences and clinical medicine to understand the body's own biomaterials (i.e., the proteins and carbohydrates of the extracellular matrix), the cellular machinery by which the biomaterials are assembled and degraded, and how the dynamic microscale interactions of these components influence tissue physiology. We design, synthesize and characterize biomaterials created from naturally derived and synthetic biopolymers. Particular interest centers on delineating quantitative relationships between properties of three-dimensional cell scaffolds and the elicited signaling mechanisms of cells grown within the materials. Current work focuses on 1) scaffolds to support neural regeneration and transplant of neural stem cells; 2) in vitro models of neurophysiology and breast cancer; 3) novel sensor platforms for mapping hypoxia in areas of high metabolic activity, such as tissues undergoing regeneration or tumor morphogenesis; and 4) "sense and treat" nano-diagnostics and therapeutics for metastatic cancer.

This work is funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Henry Luce Foundation, the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund and UMBC.

  • "[Beta]1-integrin cytoskeletal signaling regulates sensory neuron response to matrix dimensionality" accepted for publication in Neuroscience in May 2013. More...
  • Silviya and Andreia's paper about PC12 cell response to hydrolytically-degradable PEG scaffolds accepted for publication in May 2013. More...
  • Miguel's paper (with Dr. Rebecca Carrier at Northeastern University) about monitoring oxygen concentrations in 3D microfabricated cell culture systems accepted for publication in Lab on a Chip in February 2013! More...
Jennie B. Leach, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
 
Chemical, Biochemical & Environmental Engineering
 
University of Maryland, Baltimore County
1000 Hilltop Circle
Baltimore, MD 21250
 
Email: jleach@umbc.edu
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