Medical Engineering Special Seminar

Thursday March 9, 2017 4:00 PM

Controllable Engineered Biological Systems for Personalized Medicine

Speaker: Sung Jin Park, PhD, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard University
Location: Annenberg 105
Abstract: Utilizing living materials as building blocks for engineered biological systems enables replicating biological activities in vitro at a cellular, tissue and organ level. Furthermore, integrating stem cell technologies offer new strategies of personalized medicine, from enabling drug discovery to engineering transplantable artificial organs. In this talk, I will discuss our approach to recapitulate biological functions across scales from organelle to tissue to system, by advancing the control of living building blocks. First, I will present the development of artificial photosynthetic organelles that provide both a sustainable energy source for intracellular reactions and a photo-regulatory means of controlling ATP dependent reactions in artificial cells. Then, I will discuss the implementation of optogenetic tools to control the activities of engineered cardiac tissue. At a tissue level, a human inherited cardiac monogenic disease was modeled. At a system level, I will demonstrate fine control of swimming motions of an optically-guided soft-robotic tissue stingray, inspired by the ventricular contractile motions of the heart. Our preliminary results illustrate the potential and progress of these engineered biological systems to transform human muscle disease models as well as artificial tissues and organs.

Biography: Sung-Jin Park, PhD, is an Associate Researcher in John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. He received Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Seoul National University in Korea, and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University with double Master's degree in Electrical Engineering. Sungjin's PhD project was the development of micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS)-based force-feedback system for the study of sensory mechanotransduction in small nematode C. elegans. At Harvard, he has further expanded the scope to tissue-engineering, cardiology, molecular and cellular biology, and developed engineered biological systems using living materials as building blocks. He has focused on enabling the control of the biological systems across scales from artificial cells, to engineered tissues, to artificial soft-robots, in order to better recapitulate biological activities and to build more complex living system. His recent work, tissue-engineered soft-robotic ray, has been selected as a cover of Science Magazine and one of Popular Science best inventions of year 2016, nominated as Edison Award of 2017, and featured in more than 100 news outlets such as New York Times, BBC, Financial Times, and Economist.
Series Medical Engineering Seminar Series

Contact: Christine Garske
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