The Schaffer research program employs molecular and cellular engineering approaches to investigate biomedical problems focused on the engineering of stem cell and gene therapeutics. In the stem cell field, his group investigates the mechanisms by which the microenvironment or niche surrounding a stem cell regulates its behavior. This work blends a biological focus on adult neural stem cells and human pluripotent stem cells with novel technologies – including imaging, materials synthesis, and genetic engineering. In the gene delivery field, his group has developed novel high throughput protein engineering approaches to greatly enhance the properties of viral gene delivery vehicles, work with strong utility for both basic biological investigation and clinical translation. An enhanced fundamental knowledge of stem cells combined with the development of advanced approaches to control their function has applications in regenerating tissue damaged in neurodegenerative and other human diseases.
Images generated by Lukasz Bugaj and Tandis Vazin