The research of Dr. Shikanov translates the principles of biomaterials science and tissue engineering to the field of reproductive biology. The goal of this research is to preserve fertility in cancer patients by creating an artificial environment that supports in vitro folliculogenesis and subsequent growth of an artificial ovary. Sustaining ovarian follicle culture is a bioengineering challenge due to the unique spatio-temporal dynamics with respect to the developmental stage of the ovarian follicle. Design of tunable and functional hydrogels that support and direct biological functions can address this challenge. Other research projects include tumor engineering and reproductive toxicology. The former aims to screen anticancer drug efficacy using 3D hydrogel-based culture systems of in vitro grown tumors. The latter predicts and correlates the effects of various toxins on reproductive system in a biologically relevant environment mimicking in vivo conditions. This approach allows omitting time and resource consuming animal experiments in the screening process.