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SELECTBIO Conferences The Space Summit 2021

Yupeng Chen's Biography

Yupeng Chen, Associate Professor, University of Connecticut

Professor Yupeng Chen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Connecticut. He received his M.Sc. and Ph.D. in biomedical engineering and chemistry at Brown University. Prof. Chen has a long-term interest in designing and developing DNA-inspired Janus base nanomaterials for biomedical applications. His work has published as a series of high-impact papers, and US patents which have been successfully licensed to industry. Prof. Chen serves as the principal investigator of many competitive research grants from NIH, NSF and DOD. He is an awardee of the Grand Prize (top one among 545 worldwide candidates) of New Investigator Recognition Award in Orthopaedic Research Society, and the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award from National Science Foundation (one of the most prestige awards for young faculty). Most recently, Dr. Chen’s tissue engineering technology was selected to be used on the International Space Station to overcome the impact of microgravity in space.

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Injectable Nano-Matrix for Cartilage Tissue Chips

Friday, 1 October 2021 at 14:30

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Absence of biomechanical loading in microgravity can result in articular cartilage degeneration. Once damaged, cartilage has very limited self-regeneration. Therefore, many biomaterial scaffolds have been developed for cartilage tissue engineering. Conventional solid scaffolds are not injectable so they have limitations for applications in “difficult-to-reach” locations, such as microchannels of tissue chips or deep-tissue damage; hydrogels are semisolid materials so they don’t have solid surface for cell anchorage which could be a limitation in space. To overcome this challenge, we have developed a family of self-assembled scaffolds, named Nano-Matrices (NMs). NMs are formed by the self-assembly between Janus base nanotubes (JBNTs, non-covalent nanotubes mimicking DNA base pairs) and extracellular matrix proteins (such as matrilin, a cartilage specific protein). We have also found that the NM presented synergistic functions from JBNTs and matrilin, which can create a micro-environment selectively promoting chondro-lineage cell growth and differentiation. Moreover, NMs, as a solid scaffold, have excellent injectability that can be applied in the microchannels of tissue chips to improve cartilage cells anchorage and functions. Therefore, the NM may be a suitable tissue engineering scaffold for cartilage tissue chips on Earth and in space.

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