Date(s) - 10/26/2020
Brendan A. Harley, Sc.D.
Robert W. Schaefer Professor Dept. of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Building Tissues – Engineering Complexity through Biomaterial Design
Advances in the fields of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine require biomaterials that instruct, rather than simply permit, a desired cellular response. A major challenge to progress in our field is the complex organization of the tissues in our bodies, which can vary spatially, with time, and person-to person. Prof. Harley’s research program has pioneered approaches to patternbiomaterials at the structural and biomolecular level to replicate the tissue environment in order to promote tissue regeneration after injury as well as to study disease progression and therapy outside of the body. I will describe the development of a degradable biomaterial to regenerate craniomaxillofacial bones and musculoskeletal insertions. We are using bioinspired design motifs to create composite materials that instruct desired cell activities while retaining mechanical competence required for clinical translation. I will also describe the development of sophisticated multidimensional tissue models to study reciprocal interactions within an artificial hematopoietic stem cell niche, models of the endometrial perivascular environment, and to investigate the behavior of patient-derived glioblastoma specimens, the most common and lethal form of brain cancer. I will describe our use of these tools to study processes such as how the tumor microenvironment in the brain influences invasive spreading and therapeutic resistance, as well as their potential for evaluating novel anticancer compounds that overcome drug resistance.
Brendan Harley is the Robert W. Schaefer Professor in the Dept. of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received a B.S. in Engineering Sciences from Harvard University (2000), a Sc.D. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT (2006), and performed postdoctoral studies at the Joint Program for Transfusion Medicine at Children’s Hospital Boston (2006 – 2008). His research group developsbiomaterial platforms to dynamically regulate cell behavior for applications in musculoskeletal regeneration, hematopoietic stem cell biomanufacturing, as well as to investigate endometrial pathologies and invasive brain cancer. He has received funding from the NSF, NIH, American Cancer Society, the U.S. Army, and the AO Foundation. Prof. Harley co-founded a regenerative medicine company, Orthomimetics Ltd., to commercialize a biomaterial for osteochondral regeneration (global patent protection; CE Mark approval; 150+ patient Phase I clinical trial).
Dr. Harley has received a number of awards and honors including an NSF CAREER award (2013), the Young Investigator Award from the Society for Biomaterials (2014), as well as college and campus-level research, teaching, and promotion awards (U. Illinois). He is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2014) and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (2018).