Max Yavitt
Graduate Student
Chemical and Biological Engineering

Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests:

Due to its increasing physiological relevance, the intestinal organoid model holds great promise as a tool to study intestinal development and disease, screen drug candidates, or produce transplantable tissue in vitro. However, current culture methods rely almost exclusively on Matrigel, a reconstituted basement membrane from mouse sarcoma. Matrigel’s loosely-defined and variable composition obstructs investigations into specific cell-matrix interactions and makes clinical translation impossible. Synthetic hydrogels offer a solution to the problems generated by Matrigel. Through fully defined hydrogel platforms, we have the ability to investigate the effects of various biochemical and mechanical cues that influence organoid growth and development. In particular, we are interested in the role of the mechanical environment. We seek to design material platforms that afford spatial and temporal control over material properties, in order to investigate the influence of mechanical stimuli on organoid growth. The Anseth lab has developed a multitude of material systems that afford spatial and temporal control, however, we are particularly interested in adapting ally sulfide degradable hydrogels to support organoid culture. The allyl sulfide moiety allows for rapid and uniform bulk hydrogel degradation, which affords precise control over hydrogel mechanical properties.