Mark Ungrin, PhDPhD, Medical Biophysics University of Toronto, Canada
Areas of Research
A major focus of my laboratory is tissue engineering at the sub-millimetre scale. Among other platforms we make extensive use of my AggreWell platform (see technology development section) to form size- and composition-controlled microtissues for both research and therapeutic applications. We are interested in both the optimization of these microtissues for specific clinical applications, and also more basic-research studies of cellular behaviour within microtissues in general. We are well equipped for this work, with a newly renovated lab and tissue culture facilty (ready Summer 2017), confocal microscopy system and liquid-handling robotics; a number of high-level collaborations provide us with specialized subject-matter expertise across numerous biological systems.
A second major focus of my lab is the development of supporting technologies to enable new areas of research. The most widely disseminated example to date is my <a href="https://www.stemcell.com/aggrewell.html">AggreWell technology</a>, now a successful commercial product <a href="https://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=aggrewell">used in research around the world (on every continent except Antarctica)</a>. This research area encompasses the development of new bioreactor technologies, as well as robotics and automation, and computer-aided experimental design. Our facilities include several 3D printers (including a bioprinter), a laser cutter, CNC milling machine, hot embosser, vacuum former, plasma cleaner and assorted polymer casting tools. Ongoing collaborations within the University and with industry help ensure the technology development targets areas where there are important applications, and allows translation of ideas into new innovations.
Working with this supervisor
PLEASE NOTE - CRITICALLY IMPORTANT: 1 - The major scholarship application deadline for the University of Calgary is typically in mid-January, for students entering the following September. Your ability to obtain funding can often be the deciding factor in whether I have enough room in my budgets to support your graduate training, so it is important to start the conversation early (before the winter holiday break, ideally). See http://www.grad.ucalgary.ca/awards/award-opportunities, and for non-Canadian applicants also http://www.grad.ucalgary.ca/awards/international_students 2 - I am spending a year on sabbatical as a Visiting Researcher at the University of Oxford from July 2018 through June 2019. I will therefore not be taking any new students for Fall 2018, however I will consider applicants for 2019 (but see note above RE funding). As part of a trans-disciplinary research team, my trainees must be mentally agile and able to acquire new technical skills on the fly, unconstrained by stereotypical categories (such as "I am a biologist" or "I am an engineer"). Communication skills are also essential - it is not possible for one person to know everything, so while my trainees work independantly much of the time, they also frequently support one another in areas where they have differing expertise. Finally students must be highly motivated, take responsibility for moving their own work forward and meeting deadlines, and seek help and advice as needed. A basic familiarity with mammalian cell culture and molecular biology is very beneficial, however exceptional applicants from other fields will be considered.
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