The Baker Lab studies how the structure and mechanics of the tissue microenvironment influence fundamental biological processes including cell migration, proliferation, and matrix synthesis. To do so, we develop tunable biomaterials that mimic the 3D and fibrous nature of native ECMs, can be dynamically remodeled by cells, and have the potential to be scaled to implantable tissues directly. Combined with molecular tools, stem cell technologies, live imaging, and microfabrication/microfluidic approaches, these materials help us to understand the physical interactions between cells and their surroundings. We apply mechanistic insights from these studies to improve the treatment of ECM-mediated diseases such as fibrosis and cancer and to engineer tissues for organ replacement therapies.
Dr. Baker is also part of CELL-MET, a multi-institutional National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center in Cellular Metamaterials (EEC-1647837). CELL-MET aims to grow functional and clinically significant heart tissue while simultaneously developing a talented and diverse workforce to tackle future challenges in synthetic tissues engineering.
Research interests: Mechanobiology