Title :

Top-Down Engineering of Self-Organizing Biological Systems

Speaker :

Mr. Ting-Hsuan Chen

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department

University of California, Los Angeles, USA

Venue :

Room 215, William M. W. Mong Engineering Building, CUHK

Date :

Jan 13, 2012, Friday
11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Abstract :

What is the role of mechanical engineering in collaboration with biological science? One of the global challenges in biological research is regenerative medicine, which aims at cell-based therapy to rebuild the non-regenerative tissue. Tissue, as a self-organizing biological system, comprises different cells and extracellular components, exhibiting its functionalities via an orchestration of self-organized activities in a spatiotemporal coordination. As such, the success of tissue regeneration requires a “manufacture” of the essential microenvironment with specific architecture. However, the self-organization in biological complex system can defeat and limit the attempts of brute-force control. In addition, it also results in difficulty to translate the biological knowledge at molecular level to tissue-level. Here, we use Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) and applied mathematics to experimentally and computationally study a model system of vascular stem cells, which spontaneously aggregate into periodic multicellular patterns resembling normal tissue architectures. Specifically, we found that local perturbations, such as increased cell migration speed by chemical stimuli and cellular mechanical stress by MEMS structure, can affect and control the growth of global tissue architecture. Thus, as a new way to control tissue architecture, we demonstrated how BioMEMS can serve as a leading role in biological investigation, with broad implications for exploration of replacements of injured tissue.

Biography :

Ting-Hsuan Chen received his Bachelor’s degree (2003) in Power Mechanical Engineering and Master’s degree (2005) in MEMS from the National Tsing Hua University. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Micro Systems Laboratories at University of California Los Angeles. He has been spearheading a multidisciplinary project addressing multiscale self-organizing biological system as patterns of vascular stem cells. His research spans the collaborative efforts in MEMS, medicine, and biomathematics and has made a major and fundamental discovery about cell symmetry breaking under mechanical stimuli. This interdisciplinary research will impact the fields such as tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, cardiology disease and cancer. In addition, in the early phase of his researches, he constructed a deformable metal/polymer membrane with hydrophobic posts to reversibly change the surface morphology as well as the wettability. His researches also include a novel separation mechanism for biological entities using coffee ring effect at micro-scale and the characterization of electrochemical sensors.

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Enquiries: Ms. Winnie Wong, Department of Mechanical and Automation Engineering, CUHK at 3943 8337. *MAE Series (2011-12) is contained in the World-Wide Web home page at http://www3.mae.cuhk.edu.hk/maeseminars.php#mae.