T. U. Taylor Professorship in Engineering
Professor Biomedical Engineering
Dr. Suggs’s lab is primarily interested in the development of biologically active materials and their use and behavior in cardiovascular tissue engineering. It is important to understand molecular and cellular mechanisms during processes such as vasculogenesis as well as the structure of both natural and synthetic polymers and their effect on living tissues. With this fundamental knowledge base, biomaterials can be designed to mimic naturally occurring structures found in the supporting extracellular matrix.
Researchers have described methods to isolate adult progenitor cells from bone marrow and differentiate them into various vascular cell types. Her group is developing structural entities which allow for three-dimensional organization and directed differentiation of progenitor cell types. The end goal is to be able to grow vascular beds de novo for applications such as prevascularization of tissue engineered constructs or revascularizing ischemic myocardium.
Her research group utilizes a number of techniques including polymer synthesis and characterization using traditional wet chemistry techniques as well as various biochemical analysis techniques. The group cultures bone marrow stem cells and evaluate differentiated phenotype and function using immunohistochemistry and PCR. Her lab is also working on developing in vitro models of vascularization based on coronary vessel development during embryogenesis.