Prof. Mark Tibbitt

Keywords

3D cell culture, biomedical engineering, drug delivery, mechanobiology, tissue repair

What we investigate

Our laboratory focuses on the engineering and application of functional biomaterials. One area of interest is the fabrication of hydrogels as defined mimics of the extracellular matrix to study cell physiology and pathophysiology outside of the body. We also develop biomaterials to aid in tissue repair or disease management.

Our research in more detail

Research Figure Tibbitt
Merged wide-field fluorescence image of primary human dermal fibroblasts encapsulated in 3D hydrogels, 4 days after encapsulation. The cells were labelled for F-actin with Alexa Fluor 488-phalloidin (green) and DNA (nucleus) with DAPI (blue). Scale bar, 150 µm. (Image credit: O. Dudaryeva, N. Moro).

The study of cell function within controlled environments outside of the body offers unique opportunities to investigate specific hypotheses about tissue physiology and pathophysiology. To recapitulate cell function ex vivo, defined mimics of the extracellular matrix for 3D cell culture are needed to provide an environment with the suitable biochemical and biophysical properties. Therefore, we are working to design a range of hydrogel-based material platforms for the study of dermal cell biology. These materials enable the direct encapsulation of cells, for example primary dermal fibroblasts, and enable downstream molecular biology readouts and in situ imaging. These simplified 3D tissue models offer a complementary approach to in vivo analysis and enable more physiologic investigations than standard cell culture on 2D plastic. One specific area of interest with this approach, is the study of dermal fibroblast mechanobiology and its role in disease progression in collaboration with SKINTEGRITY.CH partners.
A translational benefit of this research is that the same materials can be designed for regeneration of functional tissue in vivo. Thus, we are also exploring how to leverage what we learn from 3D cell culture to design material platforms for acute and chronic wound repair.

Selected publications

SKINTEGRITY.CH Principal Investigators are underlined:

  • Guzzi EA, Bovone G, and Tibbitt MW* (2019) “Universal nano-carrier ink platform for biomaterials additive manufacturing. Small 15, 1905421.
  • Marco-Dufort B and Tibbitt MW* (2019). Biomedical applications of dynamic covalent hydrogels with boronic-ester crosslinks. Mater. Today Chem. 12, 16.
  • van der Valk DC+, van der Ven CFT+, Blaser MC, Grolman JM, Wu PJ, Fenton OS, Lee LH, Tibbitt MW, Andresen J, Wen JR, Ha AH, Body SC, Mooney DJ, van Mil A, Sluijter JPG, Aikawa M, Hjortnaes J, Langer R, and Aikawa E (2018) “Nanoindentation-based biomechanics drive engineering of a 3D-bioprinted human heart valve disease model. Nanomaterials 8, 296. +Joint first authors
  • Ragelle H+, Tibbitt MW+, Wu SY, Castillo MA, Cheng GZ, Gangadharan SP, Anderson DG, Cima MJ, and Langer R (2018). Surface tension-assisted additive manufacturing. Nat. Commun. 9, 1184. +Joint first authors
  • Yang C+, Tibbitt MW+, Basta L, and Anseth KS (2014) Mechanical memory and dosing influence stem cell fate. Nat. Mater. 13, 645. +Joint first authors