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Engineering Functional Adipose Tissue
Start Date: 10/28/2020Start Time: 4:00 PM
End Date: 10/28/2020End Time: 5:30 PM
Event Description
BIOMED Seminar

Engineering Functional Adipose Tissue

Evangelia Bellas, PhD
Assistant Professor
Temple University
Department of BioEngineering
Department of Surgery

Adipose tissue was once seen as a static storage unit for energy. More recently, we have begun to appreciate this dynamic, complex tissue that regulates our metabolic homeostasis. Adipocytes, the primary cell type in adipose tissue, expand and shrink to accommodate energy (lipids) storage and release. This requires a dynamic matrix, which can be easily remodeled. In obese adipose tissue, adipocytes become hypertrophic as they store more lipids, and the vasculature does not increase to adapt to the growing tissue. This results in tissue hypoxia, leading to inflammation and fibrosis, and ultimately causing a vicious cycle of dysfunction.

Our group develops adipose tissue disease models to mimic these dysfunctional states of hypoxia and fibrosis. We employ various bioengineering approaches to build these 3-dimensional engineered adipose tissue models, to study how fibrosis occurs, determine which pathways are implicated, and how it leads to further dysfunction when the cell is physically constrained with pericellular collagen. We have also developed a vascularized adipose tissue model, demonstrating how vascularization is supported by healthy adipocytes and how direct contact between these cells regulates tissue function.

Evangelia Bellas, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Bioengineering at Temple University. Prior to joining Temple University, Dr. Bellas was a postdoctoral fellow in Biomedical Engineering at Boston University and in Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania, under the mentorship of Dr. Christopher Chen, where she developed 3D in vitro adipose tissue disease models.

Dr. Bellas received her PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Tufts University, where she was mentored by Dr. David Kaplan. Her PhD research focused on developing long-term volume stable silk biomaterials for soft tissue regeneration. This work resulted in two patents and a start-up. Before beginning her PhD studies, Dr. Bellas was at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), under the supervision of Drs. Robert Langer and Daniel Kohane, where she worked on biomaterial, drug delivery solutions for prevention of peritoneal adhesions, and controlled release formulations for long-term pain management.

Dr. Bellas's current research focuses on the development of fat-on-chip and (dys)functional adipose tissue models to study how vascularization and interactions with the microenvironment impact tissue health and function. She is active in diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and currently serves as the Biomedical Engineering Society’s Diversity Committee Chair.
Contact Information:
Name: Lisa Williams
Evangelia Bellas
Remote Webinar
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