Microvascular structure and function in vitro

McDonnell Douglas Engineering Auditorium

ChEMS Seminar

Dr. Abraham Stroock

Associate Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Cornell University


To begin, I will present our vision of the opportunities for biologically inspired materials for applications ranging from thermal management in green buildings to pharmacology and studies of tissue-scale biological processes.  I will point to the central role of microvascular structure – for the transmission of mass, energy, and stress – within these materials.  With an overview of design considerations, I will introduce our methods to form vascularized synthetic materials with microfabrication tools that we have adapted for use in biologically compatible hydrogels.  As a first example of function, I will present our successful effort to test and apply the cohesion-tension theory of transpiration in vascular plants within, “synthetic trees”.   I will discuss the physiological significance of our findings and point out the opportunities to investigate other aspects of water management in plants, such as recovery after cavitation.  As a second example, I will present our development of scaffolds for mammalian tissue culture with embedded microfluidic structure.  I will show how this artificial vasculature allows for the definition of well-defined distributions of solutes and the extraction of metabolic information within 3-D cultures.  Finally, I will give an overview of our current studies of vasculogenic and angiogenic processes in vitro with the goal of forming native-like microvessels that can remodel under the influence of externally applied physical and biological stimuli. 


Bio Sketch:

Dr. Stroock is an Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Cornell University.  He received his AB at Cornell, masters at Université de Paris and Ph.D. at Harvard University.  In his research effort, he couples deterministic micro and nano-scale structure with physical principles to create interesting phenomena and to develop new technology. As an integral part of this effort, he builds theoretical models to direct experimentation and to establish engineering principles for future applications. With his spirit, he is pursuing several themes of research that allow him to address both timely technological challenges in microchemical technology, medicine, and materials development, and timeless questions in transport phenomena, biology, and chemical thermodynamics.

He has received awards including the Camille and Henry Dreyfus New Faculty Award, North American Mixing Forum Start-Up Grant, Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Program Award, 3M-Non-tenured Faculty award and the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation Young Investigator, Technology Review’s TR35, Top 35 Innovators Under Age 35 along with the NSF Career Award, the New York State, NYSTAR, J.D. Watson Investigator, the Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (2009), and the van Ness Lectureship (2010).