Chelsea Magin, assistant professor of bioengineering, pediatrics, and medicine, received an R01 ($2.58M) award from the National Institute of Heart, Lung, and Blood to engineer dynamic 3D models of pulmonary fibrosis.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive, incurable lung disease that leads to disrupted gas exchange and ultimately respiratory failure. These pathologies result from excess protein deposition in the lungs. Strong evidence indicates that cellular interactions with this abnormal microenvironment drive the progression of fibrosis, yet it is not clear whether changes in composition or alterations in mechanical properties of the tissues are the more potent driver of disease, i.e., the best target for therapeutics. Early-stage drug discovery could be accelerated through improved cell culture techniques, which more accurately recapitulate the time-dependent changes in lung composition and mechanical properties.
Magin’s laboratory has developed new biomaterials comprised of synthetic components and natural lung proteins to build 3D models of fibrotic lung disease. These materials can be modified by exposure to light to reproduce changes in tissue mechanics that occur in fibrosis not otherwise reproducible in current models. This award will enable Magin and her team of trainees and collaborators from around the world to improve our understanding of the causes of IPF using a novel biomaterials-based approach and build a foundation for discovery of potential therapeutics.
At the CU Denver College of Engineering, Design and Computing, we focus on providing our students with a comprehensive engineering education at the undergraduate, graduate and professional level. Faculty conduct research that spans our five disciplines of civil, electrical and mechanical engineering, bioengineering, and computer science and engineering. The college collaborates with industry from around the state; our laboratories and research opportunities give students the hands-on experience they need to excel in the professional world.