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Engineering with Cells & Gels

The Muir Lab will specialize in Engineering with Cells & Gels. At the intersection of biology and materials science, we will use chemical engineering principles to leverage the power of both living cells and gel-based materials. Our work will be inspired by grand challenges across biomedical and environmental applications, including tissue engineering, therapeutic delivery, biofabrication, and understanding cell behavior in naturally-relevant, spatially structured, and porous microenvironments. Scroll to learn more about The Muir Lab research directions and tools!

Research Directions


Healing with Injectable Hydrogels

Developing injectable and porous hydrogels that can aid in musculoskeletal tissue repair and controlled delivery of antimicrobial agents. Of particular interest - spinal disc repair & phage therapy!


Understanding Host-Microbe-Virus Interactions

Engineering 3D cell culture platforms to investigate the interactions between host environments, microbes, and viruses towards tackling biomedical and environmental challenges. Of particular interest -  phage-bacteria-tissue interactions!


User-Friendly Biomaterials Research

Designing innovative, economical, and straightforward tools to expand access to biomaterials research and accelerate progress in the field.

Research Tools and Approaches

The Muir Lab will harness an interdisciplinary array of research tools and approaches spanning chemistry, biology, physics, engineering, and computation to address challenges across bioengineering. 

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Functionalizing (bio)polymers

Using a library of covalent, dynamic, physical, and stimuli-responsive chemistries to modify (bio)polymers and fabricate hydrogels with highly tunable behaviors.

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Microgels and granular hydrogels

Fabricating micro-scale hydrogels and assembling into soft granular media for enhanced material properties. 


Real-time imaging and microscopy

Harnessing the transparency of hydrogels to spy on cell behavior in complex environments in real-time.


Cell culture

Understanding mammalian and microbial community behavior in spatially-structured environments for biomedical and environmental applications. 

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Mechanical and rheological testing

Employing compressive, tensile, and shear loading to investigate material and behavior and cell response to naturally-relevant forces. 


Soft materials (bio)printing

Designing hydrogel inks to build 3D cell-laden environments for fundamental and translational biological investigations.

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Ex vivo tissue explants

Working with tissue explants ex vivo to design innovative biomaterials and better understand cell-host interactions.


Tinkering & DIY

Encouraging creative, innovative, and cost-effective investigations by embracing a tinkering and DIY spirit. 

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