Program 5: Enabling Technologies

Development of emerging technologies that will enable the advancement of tissue engineering and regenerative applications
Theme 1: Nanotechnology and Nanosafety
Sub-Project ET.1.2: CHOI, Jonathan (CUHK)

Professor Choi’s lab explores how nanoparticles interact with the living system across the length scales of organs, tissues, cell, and organelles, and designs novel bionanomaterials for treating diseases arisen from various biological locations in vivo. The lab addresses the bottleneck of nanomedicine by characterizing organ-, tissue-, and cellular-level distribution of nanoparticles to gain mechanistic insights into how nanoparticles interact with the biological system for the development of design rules for building nanoparticles that can specifically target defined biological destinations. Professor Choi was a recipient of the Croucher Innovation Award.

Theme 2: Extracellular Matrix
Sub-Project ET.2.1: BLOCKI, Anna

The macromolecular crowding technology developed by Dr. Blocki represents a novel and efficient method for the preparation of cell-specific extracellular matrix (ECM). Her CNRM project will utilize this technology to prepare 3D-printed, bio-instructive mesenchymal stem cell-derived ECM-loaded hydrogels with anti-inflammatory, pro- angiogenic and neuro-regenerative properties within a degradable natural hydrogel to regenerate vascularized tissues, particularly in diabetic wounds. This technology has general applicability for other projects in the CNRM.

Theme 3: Molecular and Cellular Technologies
Sub-Project ET.3.1: LI, Linxian (KI)

Prof. Linxian Li is working to overcome this bottleneck. He has an extensive record on developing delivery technology for mRNA therapeutics. His group is developing lipid nanoparticles as mRNA carrier, made of natural phospholipids from our own cell membrane to mimic the natural endocytosis and endosome escape process. Dr. Li uses combinatorial chemical libraries and high throughput screening to identify new components for his lipid nanoparticles to deliver mRNA into the cell of interest. His delivery system will facilitate targeted gene therapy and stem cell differentiation to for treating genetic disorders of neuromuscular disease.

Theme 3: Molecular and Cellular Technologies
Sub-Project ET.3.2: CHEN, Sijie (KI)

Prof. Sijie Chen has established expertise in the development of luminescent bioprobes for biolabeling, bio-staining, bio-microenvironment mapping, bioimaging and diagnostics. Employing chemical synthesis and characterization, nanomaterial fabrication, luminescent materials development, AIE (Aggregation-induced emission) probe design, bioimaging and biosensing, Dr. Chen will develop new oxygen sensing platforms that will help monitoring oxygen levels in cell cultures, engineered tissues and disease models.

Theme 3: Molecular and Cellular Technologies
Sub-Project ET.3.3: ZHENG, Zongli (KI)

Prof. Zongli Zheng explores CRISPR-based precision genome editing solutions to treat neuromuscular diseases, with emphasizes on long-term safety. He employs protein engineering and genomics approaches to develop high-precision CRISPR nucleases to address the off-target issues. The goal of this research program is to advance the precision of CRISPR-mediated genome editing and contribute to viable clinical therapeutics in neuromuscular diseases.