Department Seminar

Tissue Engineering of the Pre-metastatic Niche

Speaker Details:

Lonnie Shea
Professor and William and Valerie Hall Chair, Biomedical Engineering; Professor, Chemical Engineering
University of Michigan

Lecture Details:

May 25, 2017
12:30 p.m. - 1:20 p.m.
Foege N130A, Wallace H. Coulter Seminar Room


Systems and strategies for promoting tissue growth provide enabling technologies for either enhancing regeneration for diseased or injured tissues, or to investigate abnormal tissue formation such as cancer. Given the complexity inherent in tissues, my laboratory is working towards the concept of “Systems Tissue Engineering”, which indicates the dual need i) to develop systems capable of presenting combinations of factors that drive tissue growth, as well as ii) to incorporate systems biology approaches that can identify the appropriate combination of factors. Biomaterial scaffolds represent a central component of many approaches and provide the enabling tools for creating an environment and/or deliver factors that can direct cellular processes toward tissue formation. My laboratory has been working to establish synthetic pre-metastatic niches as a means to investigate the spread of cancer with the goal of developing diagnostics or new therapies. Breast cancer is known to metastasize to specific sites (e.g., lung, liver), indicating the process is not random, and we have developed implants mimic key aspects of the metastatic niche. These implants reduce the burden of disease in solid organs and provide a survival advantage when combined with early interventions. The immune system plays a central role in homing and colonization of the implant by cancer cells. In addition to colonizing metastatic niches, cancer cells can develop resistance to chemotherapy in this environment, and we are applying systems biology tools to understand the development of resistance.

Speaker Bio:

Lonnie D. Shea is a professor and chair in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan, with a joint appointment in Chemical Engineering. He received his BS and MS degrees at Case Western Reserve University in Chemical Engineering. He received his PhD in Chemical Engineering and Scientific Computing while working at the University of Michigan and was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biologic and Materials Science in the Dental School at the University of Michigan. He joined the faculty of Northwestern University in 1999 within the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, and retains an appointment in that department as well as in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Feinberg School of Medicine. He joined the faculty at the University of Michigan in 2014 bringing his active research group working at the interface of tissue engineering, gene therapy, and drug delivery. He received an NSF CAREER Award in 2000, which helped start the work on developing new technologies based on combining biomaterials and gene/drug delivery. More recently, his research has moved into cancer diagnostics, autoimmune disease, and systems biology applied to regenerative medicine.