Research at Dr. Akbari's laboratory lies at the interface of cellular biology, biomaterials, and mechanical engineering. He is particularly interested in combining the fundamentals of fluid, mass, and thermal transport in microscales with cellular biology and biomaterials to address current grand challenges in global health.
Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine
Tissue engineering aims to improve the function of diseased or damaged organs by creating biological substitutes. To fabricate a functional tissue, the engineered construct should mimic the physiological environment including its structural, topographical, and mechanical properties. Moreover, the construct should facilitate nutrients and oxygen diffusion as well as removal of metabolic waste during tissue regeneration. At LiME we utilize state-of-the-art biofabrication technologies including 3D bioprinting, textile methods, and photolithography to fabricate tissue-like constructs that mimic the function of natural organs in vivo.
Advanced Drug Delivery Systems
The dynamic and versatile nature of different diseases has been a pivotal challenge for developing efficient and safe therapies. Pharmaceutical and biological therapeutics are often limited by short half-lives, poor bioavailability and physical and chemical instability. Moreover, effective treatment of a disease requires the combination delivery of different therapeutic agents in a timely and programmable manner. Smart systems capable of intelligent delivery of these agents at the appropriate time and site of action is highly desired and have enormous potential in the treatment of complex diseases such as cancer, peripheral nerve injury, and diabetic wounds. These systems offer a delivery platform that can be utilized to deliver drugs, growth factor, and cytokines at a controlled rate and in a stable and biologically active form. At LiME we aim to develop novel systems that can deliver drugs in response to an external stimuli or target specific sites within the body.
Biomimetic Tumor Models for Drug Discovery
Cancer is one of the leading causes of mortality across the globe, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Numerous questions remain to be answered to fully understand the complexities associated with the tumor microenvironment and cancer cell behavior. The emergence of micro- and nanoscale technologies have introduced a paradigm shift towards the development of innovative platforms for cancer research and diagnosis. These technologies have facilitated creating biomimetic in vitro models with relevant physiological characteristics for performing fundamental tumor biology studies and high-throughput drug screening. At LiME, we develop biomimetic tumor on-chip platforms for developing the efficacy of novel drugs and existing compounds.