Ye Lab has been focusing on providing engineering solutions to cell/tissue culture in vitro, especially in three-dimensional (3D) space as more and more evidence has shown that cells are closer to their natural physiological state when cultured in 3D.
One of the main research activities in the group is the design of bioreactors to control the culture conditions of cells/tissues including temperature, pH, fluid mixing, nutrient delivery and etc. We are developing bioreactors for cell expansion/proliferation for cell therapy. The aim here is to design an automatic system with high reproducibility in the final cellular products. Biomaterials processing has also been one of the research interests. Different techniques have been developed, including electrospinning, freeze-drying, 3D printing and etc, to provide suitable extracellular matrix to facilitate cell adhesion, growth, migration and differentiation (for stem cells).
One important application of growing tissues in the lab is to have a supply of model human tissues for drug screening/testing. We have built 3D breast cancer model by co-culturing human breast cancer cells with endothelial cells in biomaterial scaffolds. Significant funding has been awarded to the group to build a 3D human neural network based on iPSC derived neurons for the application of disease modelling and neurotoxicity testing.