Multiple graduate student opportunities to develop advanced biomaterial systems to manufacture high quality cell therapies
Marklein Lab Overview
Functional heterogeneity is a significant barrier to the clinical translation of many cellular therapies, including mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs). Though MSCs have shown promise in treatment of immune diseases, the mechanisms of action and critical quality attributes (CQAs, predictors of function) in different therapeutic settings are largely unknown. The overall goal of the Marklein Lab is to develop innovative approaches incorporating high-throughput, therapeutically relevant single cell profiling to assess cellular heterogeneity and accelerate translation of MSC therapies.
Project Overview – 3D-printed hydrogels to control MSC immunomodulatory function
As part of this goal, we have recently obtained funding to develop 3D biomaterial systems to investigate the role of microenvironment cues on the maintenance of MSC immunomodulatory function. This NSF-funded work is in collaboration with Drs. Donald Griffin and Christopher Highley at the University of Virginia. The overall approach for the proposed work is outlined below and will leverage the combined expertise of the PIs in the fields of MSC manufacturing, high throughput screening, single cell profiling, biomaterial synthesis and characterization, microfluidics, and 3D-printing.
The PhD students in the Marklein Lab will be responsible for high throughput screening, large-scale MSC manufacturing in 2D and 3D biomaterial systems, and extensive phenotypic and functional characterization of MSCs using therapeutically-relevant assays for MSC immunomodulation. The students will also have opportunities for internships (industry and/or government) and laboratory exchanges to broaden their research and outreach participation.
The Marklein Lab is a member of the Regenerative Biosciences Center (rbc.uga.edu) and the NSF-ERC Cell Manufacturing Technologies (cellmanufacturingusa.org). Future lab members will be exposed to an exciting, collaborative environment as they will be able to make immediate and lasting contributions to the field of regenerative medicine through their research pursuits and academic outreach. A wealth of resources is available at the University of Georgia including flow cytometry core, microscopy core, bioinformatics, robotic handlers, world class animal facilities, and support for commercialization and translation of research discoveries.
The ideal candidate for each project will have a degree in Biomedical Engineering, though individuals with degrees in Biological Sciences or other related fields are encouraged to apply. Preference will be given to candidates with experience in three or more of the following areas: cell culture, image analysis, automated microscopy, flow cytometry, statistics, programming, and large dataset analysis. The Marklein Lab is committed to efforts that advance diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) at University of Georgia and the surrounding Athens, GA community. As such, applicants from historically underrepresented groups in engineering are strongly encouraged to apply. For more information on the UGA College of Engineering’s commitment to DEI, please refer to the following website.
Interested individuals can apply to the graduate school here -> http://www.engineering.uga.edu/graduate-programs/admissions
Please contact Dr. Ross Marklein (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions related to this recruitment post.