Tejal Desai, PhD


The Desai laboratory focuses on the design, fabrication, and use of advanced micro/nano biosystems for cellular integration and tissue engineering, biomimetic architectures for functional biomaterials, and therapeutic drug targeting and delivery. For example, studies are being conducted to investigate the role of structural mechanics in regulating biochemical pathways, biological adhesion phenomena, cytoskeletal deformation and active cellular motility. Motivating these fundamental studies is the development of novel materials that mimic the interfacial and structural properties of natural biomaterials. The Desai lab is designing templates to achieve cardiomyocyte attachment and orientation in dynamic environments and have applied microfluidic biopolymer patterning to design multicellular and multilayered vascular analogues. The potential of using such techniques to recreate hierarchical tissue architecture makes this an exciting tool for cellular and tissue engineering and for engineering microenvironments to modulate stem cells. The lab is also interested in novel approaches to deliver drugs to specific cells via targeting. Examples include lectin-conjugated microdevices for oral delivery and neurotransmitter-conjugated nanoparticles for neuronal targeting.