Hyun-Joon Kong

Assistant Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineerging

Design of bioinspired materials, engineering of stem cell niches, tissue engineering

Tissue engineering has been emerging as a new therapeutic strategy aimed toward understanding the principles of tissue development and translating this fundamental knowledge into clinical restoration, repair, maintenance, and even improvement of tissue and whole organ function. This innovative strategy has been performed by combining new regenerative medicines including protein, DNA, cells, and engineered biomaterials. In this application, biomaterials have been mainly designed as a mechanical and biochemical scaffold to protect the loaded regenerative medicines from both exterior mechanical deformation and an immunologic response. Recently, the ability of biomaterials to mimic an extracellular matrix, regulating the functions of its loaded elements by recapitulating biological signaling, has become more important to current research efforts. In this context, our research will focus on 1. molecular, nano-, and micro-scale design of bio-inspired materials to reproduce structure and function of natural extracellular matrices, 2. engineering cellular niches to regulate the growth, lineage, and death of stem and progenitor cells using these materials, 3. development of novel tools to analyze the cross-talk between cell and engineered extracellular matrices, and 4. application of biologically engineered analogs of therapeutic molecules, cells, and biomaterials for various stem cell-based tissue engineering, including both the regeneration of functional tissue and destruction of pathologic tissue. Through this research, we will pioneer innovative strategies for designing in vitro cell culture conditions and in vivo cell transplantation devices to be utilized in various tissue engineering and cell-based therapies.

Representative Publications

C. Cha, R. Kohman, and H.J. Kong, "Biodegradable polymer cross-linker: Independent control of stiffness, toughness and degradation rate of hydrogel," Advanced Functional Materials, (in press, 2009).

C. Chu, B. Scaffer, R. Devolder, and H.J. Kong, "Quantitatively analyzing the cross-linked structure of microgels using fluorescent probes," Polymer, (in press, 2009).

J. Sung, P. Barone, H.J. Kong, and M. Strano, "Sequential delivery of dexamethasone and VEGF to control local tissue response for carbon nanotube fluorescence based micro-capillary implantable sensors, Biomaterials, 30,

C. Chu, J.J. Schimdt, K. Carne, Z. Zhang, H.J. Kong*, M-C. Hofmann*, "Three-dimensional synthetic niche components to control germ cell proliferation," Tissue Engineering, 15, 255-262 (2009). [*Co-corresponding authors]

C. Fischbach, H.J. Kong, S. Hsiong, M. Evangelista, W. Yuen, and D.J. Mooney, "Cancer cell angiogenic capability is regulated by 3-D culture and integrin engagement," Proceedings of the National Academy Sciences (USA) 106, 399-404 (2009).

J.J. Schmidt, J. Rowley, and H.J. Kong, "Hydrogels used for cell-based drug delivery," Journal of Biomedical Materials Research A 4, 1113-1122 (2008).

E., Silva, E.S. Kim, H. J. Kong, and D. J. Mooney, "Deployment of progenitor cells," Proceedings of the National Academy Sciences (USA), 105, 14347-14352 (2008).