Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery
Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering
Affiliate of the Regeneration Next Initiative
Lab site: https://varghese.pratt.duke.edu
A leader in the field of biomaterials and stem cells, Varghese will develop her research at Duke in three major areas: Musculoskeletal tissue repair, Disease biophysics, and Organ-on-a-chip technology.
A new initiative of the Pratt School of Engineering and Duke School of Medicine, Duke MEDx seeks to enhance and form new collaborations between doctors and engineers.
Dr. Varghese's research lies at the interface of cell and molecular biology, engineering, physical sciences, material science, and medicine. Specifically, her lab is interested in understanding the effect of physicochemical cues of the microenvironment on various cellular behaviors leading to stem cell commitment, tissue repair and homeostasis, or disease progression. Their approach entails the development of bioengineered platforms including multifunctional biomaterials emulating physicochemical properties of the ECM and stem cell-derived organoids that recapitulate key features of human tissues and diseases. Unique to their approach is employing such platforms to unravel the underlying molecular mechanisms. Moving forward, they harness these understandings to develop novel therapeutics regimens, including cell transplantation, activation of endogenous cells, and therapeutic interventions targeting the microenvironment and signaling pathways. Examples of ongoing research activities in their laboratory involve developing: functional biomaterials such as self-healing materials, technologies to improve stem cell based therapies including activating endogenous stem cells, engineered functional tissue grafts, and organ-on-a-chip systems.