BIOE Seminar: Engineering the tumor cell niche to study dormancy in metastatic breast cancer

Friday, March 17, 2023
9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.
A. James Clark Hall, Room #2121

This seminar is the University of Maryland Bioengineering Graduate Student Society (BGSS) Students' Choice seminar.

Shreyas S. Rao
The University of Alabama
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering

Engineering the tumor cell niche to study dormancy in metastatic breast cancer


In recent years, engineered environments have been increasingly employed in cancer research to  recapitulate key aspects of the complex in vivo tumor microenvironment with the ultimate goal of  creating a system to better understand disease initiation and progression. In particular, biomaterial  scaffolds have emerged as a key tool, enabling design of environments that mimic some features  of native tissue and thus provide a controllable but more physiologically relevant environment in  vitro. In this talk, I will present our recent efforts in engineering biomimetic environments in vitro using biomaterial scaffolds to study dormancy in brain metastatic breast cancer. Such systems  could enable identification of approaches aimed at re-educating the microenvironment with strong  potential to halt cancer progression and ultimately improve patient survival outcomes.

Speaker Bio:
Dr. Shreyas S. Rao is an Associate Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at The University of Alabama. He received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from The Ohio State University in 2012 under the guidance of Prof. Jessica Winter and was a postdoctoral fellow with Prof. Lonnie Shea at Northwestern University (2013-14) and The University of Michigan (2014-15). He joined the faculty at Alabama in 2015 and established an interdisciplinary research program focused on utilizing engineering tools to unravel the mechanisms associated with the role of microenvironment in cancer progression, therapeutic response, and resistance in primary and secondary brain cancers. His honors and awards include the National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2018), a METAvivor Early Career Investigator Award (2020), and an American Cancer Society Research Scholar Award (2021). He was also named ‘Emerging Leader in Biological Engineering’ in 2019 by the Journal of Biological Engineering, an official publication of the Institute of Biological Engineering (IBE) and was selected by the AIChE Journal (an official publication of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE)) in 2022 to contribute to the Futures Issue that highlights rising stars in the field. Overall, his research has resulted in filing of 2 patent applications, 38 journal publications, two book chapters, one co-edited book, and over 80 conference presentations and proceedings.

Audience: Public 

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