To develop a bioactive hydrogel with a longer gelation time, William employed a systems approach to materials design. He quickly identified a few key variables to tune by evaluating various compositional and processing parameters that effect both cellular interaction and gelation kinetics. Through a series of gelation and tissue growth experiments he demonstrated a viable class of materials with gelation times ranging from 2-fold to over 4-fold higher than that of MBEL’s conventional hydrogel.
William is now expanding his research focus to modeling wounds using organ-chip technology. Compared to existing models that typically rely on 2D layers of cells or cells seeded onto scaffolds, his approach utilizes multiple cell-types in complex arrangements that more closely mimics actual tissue. As such this project holds promise in providing a more accurate representation of how tissue responds to localized damage and inflammation.
Away from Lab
William and Alejandro recently received two new housemates, “Dome” and “Ter”, who are engineering students from Thailand also interning at Seoul National University through a separate program. In addition to picking up a few Thai phrases, William has enjoyed exchanging hobbies with the housemates. He first introduced them to the sport of bouldering at an indoor gym in the popular university district of “Hongdae”. Later on, Dome took William to a nearby videogame bar where he got to meet a number of fellow Americans while playing Super Smash Bros Ultimate.
Left image: (From left to right) Alejandro, William, Dome, and Ter at a bouldering gym,
Right image: The videogame bar in Hongdae
These past few weeks have also brought about new delicious foods. Some of the highlights include grilled eel and Hanwoo Beef, a famous breed of Korean cattle that is known for its high degree of marbling. Both dishes were incredibly juicy and flavorful!
Left: Grilled eel. Right: Hanwoo beef (before grilling!)