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Welcome to the Niklason Lab!

Our laboratory seeks to utilize cells, in combination with what we know about their function, embryonic development, and physiological environments, to create functional tissues and organs that may one day help patients. This approach to Regenerative Medicine is firmly rooted in biology, yet makes ample use of engineering principles such as Design Criteria, biomechanical forces, biomimetic bioreactors, and the like.

For our work in vascular engineering, we are focusing on the differentiation of human iPS cells into vascular smooth muscle and endothelial phenotypes, novel bioreactor development, and chemical modifications of engineered vascular tissues to enhance their biocompatibility. We focus on both “large vessel” (i.e. arterial) and “small vessel” (i.e. capillary) engineering, using both small and large animals as testbeds.

For our work in lung cell therapy and whole lung regeneration, we utilize acellular lung scaffolds that are generated by the careful and quantitative decellularization of adult organs from a variety of species. These scaffolds are then repopulated with stem cell-derived and differentiated cells of various lineages. Design goals are the generation of patent microvasculature, differentiated epithelial lining, and appropriate tissue mechanics including surfactant-dependent compliance.