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through tissue regeneration and the treatment of disease continues to grow, the majority of current strategies rely on outdated technology initially developed and optimized for starkly different applications.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
Batalov, B., Stevens, K.R. & DeForest, C.A. Photopatterned Biomolecule Immobilization to Guide Three-Dimensional Cell Fate in Natural Protein-based Hydrogels. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118, e2014194118 (2021).
Shadish, J.A., Strange, A.C. & DeForest, C.A. Genetically Encoded Photocleavable Linkers for Patterned Protein Release from Biomaterials. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 141, 15619-15625 (2019).
Shadish, J.A., Benuska, G.M. & DeForest, C.A. Bioactive Site-Specifically Modified Proteins for 4D Patterning of Gel Biomaterials. Nature Materials, 18, 1005-1014 (2019).