Stem Cell Niches and Hydrogels
Jenna is working on a collaborative project with the U.S. National Institutes of Health as part of the NIH-Cambridge Graduate Partnership Program, and is jointly mentored by Dr. Constantine Stratakis of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Her project focuses on using hydrogels as scaffolds for creating an in vitro model for the cellular microenvironment. In particular, she will fabricate and characterize a number of hydrogel systems and determine mechanically and biologically relevant properties. Once a hydrogel system has been optimized, it will then be used to create an in vitro model of the cell-extracellular matrix interaction. Jenna is particularly interested in exploring the interaction between chemical and mechanical signaling in the cellular microenvironment, and will do so in the context of cyclic AMP and protein kinase A signaling and collagen production and deposition.