Peptide-functionalized hydrogels modulate integrin expression and stemness in adult human epidermal keratinocytes

Duncan Davis-Hall, MS; Vy Nguyen, BS; Tyler D’Ovidio, BS; Ethan Tsai, PhD; Ganna Bilousova, PhD; and Chelsea M. Magin, PhD

            Check out the Magin Lab’s first primary research article, published recently in Advanced Biosystems and featured on the journal’s cover! This is the culmination of Duncan Davis-Hall’s work as a Master’s student in Bioengineering. He shows that novel hydrogels incorporating binding motifs found in native skin extracellular matrix can improve human keratinocyte stem-like properties. This happens following an increase in cell expression of an important binding protein, integrin β1. The lab’s research moves the field of biomaterials forward by developing new cell culture platforms that improve tissue regenerative ability. This will help researchers grow cells for basic biological research and improve techniques to screen new treatments for skin disorders like diabetic ulcers or severe burns. The research occurred as part of a collaboration between the Magin Lab and scientists in the Department of Dermatology and Gates Center for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus through funding from the Skin Diseases Research Center. The first author, Duncan Davis-Hall, received his MS degree in Bioengineering from CU Denver through this project in August 2018. Duncan has been in the Magin Lab since its conception in 2017 and will continue research as a PhD student in the coming years. His future work will transition from skin tissue to lung pathology as he works to 3D print cellularized hydrogel blood vessel mimics to study pulmonary hypertension. Stay tuned for more exciting work in biomaterials from the Magin Lab as we move through the 2019 academic year!

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