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Life In Miniature: Cancer in Three-Dimensions
March 28 @ 11:45 am - 1:00 pm
Over the past century, imaging and cell-culture have been locked in a coupled development pipeline limited by the perceived constraints of two-dimensional culture. Recent advances in scanning-confocal microscopy, light-sheet microscopy, and multiphoton microscopy have enabled rapid, three-dimensional, high-resolution characterization of microtissue specimens. We have recently developed a 3D ex vivo culture platform that is integrated within confocal microscopy facilitating high resolution in situ imaging. The 3D culture platform enables the controlled delivery of media, drugs, and biologics and the controlled removal of waste metabolites via pressure driven perfusion through a porous medium of soft granular microgels with interstitial spaces that are designed to recapitulate an in vivo capillary bed. These Liquid-Like Solids (LLS) act as both a self-healing 3D support medium for the experiments and an open capillary bed for perfusion. In situ measurements of immunotherapy activity in 3D systems of patient derived micro-tumors with expanded cultures of TILs, PBMCs, and CAR T cells will be presented. These experiments follow immune cell migrations, killing, and tumor elimination using in situ scanning confocal microscopy, live-cell imaging techniques, astrophysics inspired AI tracking, spatiotemporal 3D cytokine measurements, and evolutionary dynamics modeling of immunotherapy.
Greg Sawyer is a professor, engineer, scientist, cancer researcher and cancer survivor who has turned his attention from space systems to exploring new frontiers in the battle against cancer. Greg was a member of the original Mars Rover design team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and his approach to cancer research follows a multidisciplinary team approach. After his own diagnosis with stage-IV cancer, Greg converted his laboratory in surface science and engineering into a center for cancer engineering. A major goal of this research is to allow scientists to visualize and interact with cancer using bio-printing techniques and other tools pioneered by soft matter engineering. Greg is a member of the National Academy of Inventors, a UF Distinguished Teaching Scholar, holds over 20 patents, has authored over 200 scientific publications, has been cited over 10,000 times, and has mentored dozens of PhD students – many of whom are now faculty members and researchers working at the interfaces between engineering, science, and biomedicine.