Jordan S. Miller
Assistant Professor of Bioengineering
Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania (2008-2013)
Ph.D., Bioengineering, Rice University (2008)
B.S., Biology, minor in Biomedical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2003)
Jordan Miller's primary research interests in regenerative medicine combine synthetic chemistry, three-dimensional (3D) printing, microfabrication, and molecular imaging to direct cultured human cells to form more complex organizations of living vessels and tissues. Precisely engineered in vitro systems at the molecular, micro- and meso-scales are well suited to decouple the relationship between tissue architecture and cell function. These systems are now permitting comprehensive closed-loop design and optimization of large-scale engineered tissues through refinement with computer models of mass transport and assessment of their therapeutic potential in vivo.
Miller's research projects explore the role of mass transport on cell survival and matrix remodeling in a 3D context, and utilize novel biomaterials and bioinspired vascular architectures to meet the metabolic requirements of densely populated engineered tissues. These studies will enable the creation of engineered tissues containing billions of cells and provide for the assessment of their therapeutic potential in vivo.
Miller has also launched the Advanced Manufacturing Research Institute (AMRI) out of Rice University. This new research program awards summer fellowships to rising stars in hardware and software engineering to develop new tools and pursue quantitative investigations in advanced manufacturing - tissue engineering, 3D printing, and rapid prototyping are initial targets.
Prior to joining Rice in 2013, Miller's postdoctoral work in the lab of Professor Christopher S. Chen at Penn focused on the multiscale vascularization of engineered tissues. To understand the means by which the cellular microenvironment impinges on angiogenesis - the sprouting of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones - Miller developed a new family of synthetic and degradable hydrogels to tease apart interactions between endothelial cells and the extracellular matrix (ECM). Endothelial cell sprouting requires specific adhesive and degradable characteristics of the ECM over a narrow stiffness regime. At the meso-scale, Miller developed 3D printing methodologies to enable the rapid fabrication of engineered tissues containing perfusable vascular architectures. This work was supported by fellowships through the Hartwell Foundation (2008) and the National Institutes of Health National Research Service Award (NHLBI F32 NRSA). An advocate for and contributor to many open-source research projects, Miller was recently named a Core Developer of the open-source RepRap 3D Printer project for the development of 3D printed carbohydrate glass for the multiscale vascularization of engineered tissues.
Miller holds a Ph.D. in bioengineering from Rice University. Working in the laboratory of Professor Jennifer L. West, he developed new laser-based microfabrication strategies for constructing synthetic microenvironments for studies of mammalian cell adhesion and migration. In surface patterning investigations, synthesis and precise arrangement of self-assembled monolayers with laser-based micro-ablation directed cellular alignment and cytoskeletal organization of human fibroblasts. In 3D microfabrication studies, synthetic biodegradable hydrogel scaffolds were patterned with micro-scale adhesion and stiffness domains using diffraction-limited multiphoton photopolymerization to direct 3D cell migration.
The lack of sufficient numbers of donor organs for human transplantation therapies results in the loss of tens of thousands of lives and costs hundreds of billions of dollars each year in the U.S. alone. However, the ability to create, de novo, functional organ replacements for treating human pathologies is fundamentally limited by the lack of a comprehensive vascularization strategy for engineered 3D tissues. We developed new biomaterials, 3D printing methodologies, and sacrificial casting strategies to enable the rapid fabrication of engineered tissues containing perfusable vascular architectures. Patterned vasculature facilitated capillary sprouting and supported the function of primary hepatocytes in centimeter-sized constructs. Together these technologies provide a flexible platform for a wide array of specific applications, and may enable the scaling of densely populated tissue constructs to arbitrary size.