Project Description

Joint Assistant Professor of Bioengineering and Chemical Engineering
Dan Evans Career Development Assistant Professor
Phone: (206) 543-5961
Office: Benson 353

We are developing a suite of user-programmable biomaterials that can be used to understand basic cell function, engineer functional tissue, deliver functional therapeutics, and cure disease.
User-Programmable Biomaterials for Directing Dynamic Stem Cell Fate
Biomolecular and Tissue Engineering
Controlled Delivery of Therapeutics to Treat Disease
Tool Development for Enhanced Proteomic Studies

While the potential for biomaterial-based strategies to improve and extend the quality of human health through tissue regeneration and the treatment of disease continues to grow, the majority of current strategies rely on outdated technology initially developed and optimized for starkly different applications. Therefore, the DeForest Group seeks to integrate the governing principles of rational design with fundamental concepts from material science, synthetic chemistry, and stem cell biology to conceptualize, create, and exploit next-generation materials to address a variety of health-related problems. We are currently interested in the development of new classes of user-programmable hydrogels whose biochemical and biophysical properties can be tuned in time and space over a variety of scales. Our work relies heavily on the utilization of cytocompatible bioorthogonal chemistries, several of which can be initiated with light and thereby confined to specific sub-volumes of a sample. By recapitulating the dynamic nature of the native tissue through 4D control of the material properties, these synthetic environments are utilized to probe and better understand basic cell function as well as to engineer complex heterogeneous tissue.

Ph.D. in Chemical & Biological Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, Certificate in Molecular Biophysics, Doctoral work under Kristi Anseth, 2011
B.S.E. in Chemical Engineering (Magna Cum Laude), Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, Concentration in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, Certificate in Material Science and Engineering, Certificate in Engineering Biology, 2006

California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA – March 2012 – November 2013
Postdoctoral research scholar under Prof. David Tirrell, Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering

Emerging Investigator Award, Royal Society of Chemistry, Biomaterials Science 2019
Early Career Award in Cancer Research, Safeway and the Cancer Consortium 2018
35 Under 35 Award, Bioengineering Category, American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) 2017
Young Investigator Presentation Award, Biomaterials & Tissue Engineering, Gordon Research Conf. 2017
Emerging Investigator Award, Journal of Materials Chemistry B 2017
Young Investigator Award, Polymeric Materials: Science & Eng. Division, American Chemical Society 2017
NSF CAREER Award, National Science Foundation 2017
Presidential Distinguished Teaching Award (highest teaching award from U. Washington, 1 awarded/year) 2016
Jaconette L. Tietze Young Scientist Award, The John H. Tietze Foundation June 2015
Distinguished Teaching Award Nominee, University of Washington 2014 & 2015
Ruth L. Kirschstein Postdoctoral Fellow (declined), National Institute of Health 2014
Rising Star / Student Fellow Award, Biomedical Engineering Society January 2013
DSM Polymer Technology Award, DSM and American Chemical Society August 2011
Excellence in Graduate Polymer Research Award, American Chemical Society 2010
Graduate Student Research Gold Award, Materials Research Society 2009
Molecular Biophysics Training Grant, National Institute of Health (NIH) 2007 – 2009
Biomolecular GAANN Fellowship, US Dept. of Education 2007 – 2010
Outstanding Achievement Award, Society for Biomaterials Annual Meeting April 2009
First-Year Graduate Research Fellowship, University of Colorado August 2006
Material Science Student of the Year, Princeton University June 2006
Sigma Xi Chemical Engineering Book Award, Princeton University June 2006
Graduate Research Fellowship Honorable Mention, National Science Foundation 2006 & 2007
Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society Induction, Tau Beta Pi 2005
Most Approachable Resident Advisor, Princeton University June 2005
Valedictorian, Boulder High School, CO June 2002

BIOEN 447/547: Fundamentals of Magnetic Resonance and Ultrasound Imaging
BIOEN 449/549: Therapeutic and Diagnostic Ultrasound
BIOEN 532: Bioengineering Professional Series III: Professional Skills Development

Liu, L., Shadish, J.A., Arakawa, C.K., Shi, K., Davis, J. & DeForest, C.A. Cyclic Stiffness Modulation of Cell-Laden Protein-Polymer Hydrogels in Response to User-Specified Stimuli including Light. Advanced Biosystems, 2, 1800240 (2018).

Badeau, B.A., Comerford, M.P., Arakawa, C.K., Shadish, J.A. & DeForest, C.A. Engineered Modular Biomaterial Logic Gates for Environmentally Triggered Therapeutic Delivery. Nature Chemistry, 10, 251-258 (2018).

Ruskowitz, E.R. & DeForest, C.A. Photoresponsive Biomaterials for Targeted Drug Delivery and 4D Cell Culture. Nature Reviews Materials, 3, 17087 (2018) DOI: 10.1038/natrevmats.2017.87.

Arakawa, C.K., Badeau, B.A., Zheng, Y. & DeForest, C.A. Multicellular Vascularized Engineered Tissues through User-Programmable Biomaterial Photodegradation. Advanced Materials, 29, 1703156 (2017).

DeForest, C.A.* & Tirrell, D.A. A Photoreversible Protein-Patterning Approach for Guiding Stem Cell Fate in Three-Dimensional Gels. Nature Materials, 14, 523-531 (2015). *Co-Corresponding Authorship

DeForest, C.A. & Anseth, K.S. Photoreversible Patterning of Biomolecules within Click-based Hydrogels. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 51, 1816-1819 (2012).

DeForest, C.A. & Anseth, K.S. Cytocompatible Click-based Hydrogels with Dynamically-Tunable Properties through Orthogonal Photoconjugation and Photocleavage Reactions. Nature Chemistry, 3, 925-931 (2011).

DeForest, C.A., Polizzotti, B.D. & Anseth, K.S. Sequential Click Reactions for Synthesizing and Patterning 3D Cell Microenvironments. Nature Materials 8, 659-664 (2009).

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