The research mission of the Corr Laboratory is to harness the cell's natural abilities to improve functional tissue engineering, particularly in orthopaedic soft tissues.
To attack this problem, our research is focused in three main areas: (a) Scaffold-free soft tissue engineering, (b) wound healing and biomechanics of biologic soft tissue, and (c) creating spatially-precise cellular cultures and co-cultures using laser direct writing. Current projects include a scaffold-free cell-based approach to engineer single fibers and tissue structures in muscle, tendon and ligament; experimental and theoretical approaches to study history-dependent phenomena in skeletal muscle; and laser-based direct writing of cells to study the influence of local microenvironment on cancer cell activity, collagen production, and stem cell differentiation.
Scaffold-free soft tissue engineering
Through the use of laser micromachined differentially-adherent growth channels, cells are guided to grow and form fibers. These fibers are mechanically and electrically tuned in a custom bioreactor to create fibers with the desired structural and/or mechanical properties. Current projects include creating functional fibers from myoblasts, fibroblasts, and mesenchymal stem cells.
Wound healing and biomechanics of soft tissues
Research aims to understand the normal structure and mechanical function of biological soft tissues, (e.g., skeletal muscle, tendon, ligament and skin), and how both these are affected by injury, and their ability to recover during healing. Projects include dermal wound healing (structure and function), history-dependent behavior of skeletal muscle, and the viscoelastic recovery of soft tissues (muscle, ligament, skin) following acute injury.
Laser direct-writing of cells
In collaboration with Prof. Douglas Chrisey, we utilize a laser-based direct-write technique to "print" cells with resolution and spatial control at the single-cell level. Current applications involve creating spatially-precise cell cultures, co-cultures, and multi-cultures to study the role of local microenvironment on cancer cell activity, collagen production, and stem cell differentiation.