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Training

Training

Overview

Program Characteristics

As a SysCODE postdoctoral researcher, your interests will span more than one discipline. The Systems-based Consortium for Organ Design and Engineering (SysCODE) offers a two-year fellowship program that provides you with the opportunity to work with outstanding mentors to define your own path toward becoming an independent investigator who integrates developmental biology, bioengineering, and computational sciences.

Current Trainees

Peggi Angel, PhD
Heart valve proteome during organ development in vitro

Co-mentors:

Scott Baldwin, MD
Katrina Overall McDonald Professor, Dept. of Medicine
Chief of Division of Pediatric Cardiology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Ali Khademhosseini, PhD
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Medicine, Harvard-MIT
Division of HST, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Harvard Medical School

  • PhD

    University of Georgia (Analytical Chemistry), 2007
    Advisor: Ronald Orlando, PhD

  • BS

    Georgia Southern University (Chemistry), 1999

Abnormal heart valve formation affects over 1% of the US population and is a primary cause of prenatal and postnatal death. Although morphological progression of heart valve development has been well studied, the molecular factors that guide this process are poorly defined. Our goal is to produce a comprehensive proteomic portrait of early mouse heart valve development. A key element of this goal is the identification of proteins important to endothelial-mesenchymal transformation, a process that is critical not only to early valve cushion formation but to other major developmental events such as tooth germ formation. The data will be made available for comparison to tooth germ formation and pancreatic islet formation to better understand the developmentally important endothelial-mesenchymal transformation. Information from this study will be directly applicable to tissue engineering approaches to heart valve formation.

Kaustabh Ghosh, PhD
Engineered microenvironments for in situ pancreatic islet generation

Co-mentors:

Donald Ingber, MD, PhD
Judah Folkman, Professor, Dept. of Pathology, Vascular Biology Program, Children’s Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School

Robert S. Langer, PhD
Institute Professor, Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, MIT

  • PhD

    State University of NY at Stony Brook (Biomedical Engineering), 2006; Advisor: Richard A.F. Clark, MD

  • B. Tech

    National Institute of Technology, India (Technology) 2001

Diabetes, which poses major health and financial burden, arises from the loss of insulin production by β cells of the islets of Langerhans. Islet transplantation, however, has had limited success in restoring normal islet function, largely due to post-transplantation challenges such as immune rejection, loss of islet cell viability and lack of optimal vascularization, thus suggesting the need to develop alternate therapies. For this proposal, I will seek to identify micro-environmental (chemical as well as physical) determinants that promote EPC adhesion, proliferation and differentiation into mature functional endothelium, and use these findings as design criteria to fabricate multi-functional biomaterials that will induce endothelium-mediated pancreatic islet normalization and/or survival of transplanted β cells when targeted to diseased islets in the body.

Charlotte Hinault, PhD

Analyses of the islet proteome

Co-mentors:

Rohit Kulkarni, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Joslin Diabetes Center

Steven Gygi, PhD
Assistant Professor of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School

  • PhD

    INSERM Unit 145, France (Life Sciences), 2005; Advisor: Emmanuel Van Obberghen, M.D.

  • MS

    INSERM Unit 145, University of Nice Sophia-Antoplis, France (Life Sciences), 2002

  • BS

    University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis, France (Life Sciences in Biochemistry), 2001

The pancreatic islets of Langerhans, and especially the insulin-producing beta cells, play a central role in the maintenance of glucose homeostasis. The proposed experiments will allow the generation of a novel data base of proteins and gene expression in the endocrine pancreas (islets and beta cells) of a mammalian model (the mouse) –from adults and animal at different developmental periods. I already have expertise in islet biology and will train in aspects of proteomics over the duration of this project.

José Rivera-Feliciano, PhD
Engineering of stem cell derived heart valves

Co-mentors:

David Mooney, PhD
Professor of Bioengineering, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Doug Melton, PhD
Cabot Professor and Founding Chair, Dept. of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology
Harvard University
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Co-Director, Harvard Stem Cell Institute

  • PhD

    Harvard University (Genetics), 2007; Advisor: Clifford J. Tabin

  • BS

    University of Puerto Rico (Industrial Biotechnology), 1999

Current design strategies for heart-valve replacements do not implement developmental biology principles, have failed to identify a source of progenitor cells, and lack a fundamental understanding of the valve extracellular matrix microenvironment. My ultimate aim is to construct embryonic stem cell derived heart-valve replacements. Combined with my background in heart development, I will gain experience in stem cell biology and tissue engineering required to accomplish this goal.