Born in Shanghai, one of the largest cities in China, I spent 18 years of my prime life time in this prosperous metropolis, a place used to be called 'Oriental Paris' and now a rising economic and financial center in the asia-pacific region. In 1999, I was unexpectedly admitted by Tsinghua University, one of the most prestigious colleges in China. As a result of this surprising accident, I moved to Beijing, the capital of the People's Republic of China, and graduated with a major in Electrical Engineering after 4 years of memorable college life. Deeply attracted by the beautiful magic of the marriage between biology and engineering, I came to the United States for my graduate studies in the exciting field of Biomedical Engineering. I spent 2 years at Johns Hopkins and obtained my master degree with a thesis on cardiac reentrant arrhythmias. In the summer of 2005, I joined Dr. Bursac's cardiac electrophysiology and tissue engineering lab at Duke to pursue my Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Engineering. Outside the lab, I like to hang out with my lovely friends and have fun. I also enjoy spending my limited amount of leisure time on a variety of fun activities, such as traveling, dancing, hiking, swimming, playing badminton, yoga, Karaoke and cooking.
My research project was to engineer relatively large and thick artificial muscle tissue constructs with densely packed, uniformly aligned and highly differentiated myofibers. I developed a simplified hydrogel micromolding approach utilizing the microfabricated posts to simultaneously create pores within the tissue constructs for better oxygen and nutrient transport and induce uniform 3D cell alignment during the process of constrained cell-mediated gel compaction. This approach has been proved feasible to generate muscle tissue networks made of both skeletal myoblasts and cardiomyocytes.
Figure 1. A) 3D OCT (optical coherence tomography) image showing the topology of the formed muscle tissue network. An optical cross-section (denoted by -S-) was also obtained. B) Aligned myotubes were striated and myogenin-positive 10 days after differentiation was initiated. C) Cell orientation map was overlayed on the microscopic image of the tissue network. The distribution of cell orientation angles shown in the bottom histogram revealed the high degree of uniaxial cell alignment.