We are an interdisciplinary research group focusing on droplets and soft granular matter physics, and tissue engineering. We use droplet microfluidics to formulate and study droplet-based materials as well as to engineer biomaterials at the microscale for new applications in 3D cell culture and tissue engineering.
Soft granular materials are structures composed of close-packed deformable particles, droplets, or other types of ‘grains’. Examples include compressed emulsions, foams, or dense micro-hydrogel suspensions, widespread in food, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical industries. We focus on developing new strategies of formulation of such ‘wet’ granular materials with high precision using microfluidics. We use viscous flows to generate and manipulate droplets inside microchannels and build larger granular structures exploiting capillary and viscous forces. We study mechanical properties and self-assembly of droplet aggregates, clusters, or threads.
We also exploit microfluidics and 3D printing to engineer biomaterials, e.g., fabricate porous hydrogel scaffolds for cell seeding or formulate cell-laden hydrogel microstructures as microparticles/microfibers as building blocks of larger tissue-like constructs. The great promise of the living tissue-like microstructures is their application in: