Sant Lab

Developing Biomimetic Microenvironments for Regenerative Therapies

Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, PA



  Principal Investigators

Shilpa Sant, Ph.D

 Shilpa Sant, PhD is an Assistant Professor at University of Pittsburgh in the Departments of  Pharmaceutical Sciences and Bioengineering. Before joining Pitt, she was a Ruth Kirschstein  NRSA Interdisciplinary training fellow at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired  Engineering, Harvard University, and the Centre for Bioengineering at Brigham and Women's  Hospital, Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA.

 Dr. Sant received a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Technology from University of Montreal,  Canada, a Masters degree in Pharmacology and a Bachelors degree in Pharmaceutical  Sciences from the University of Mumbai. She has extensive research experience in diverse  fields including materials science, polymer chemistry, drug delivery, tissue engineering,  natural and synthetic biomaterials and microfabrication. Her postdoctoral research involved  fabrication of functionalized bioinspired materials and scaffolds applicable for the heart valve  and tooth germ tissue engineering. She has contributed over 20 articles in peer-reviewed  journals, 2 book chapters and currently editing a book entitled "Biomedical Nanomaterials in  Tissue Engineering: Fabrication and Applications". Dr. Sant's exemplary achievements in research have been recognized by prestigious fellowships: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NIH, USA), Post-doctoral Fellowship (Le Fonds Quebecoise de Recherche sur Nature et Technologies (FQRNT), Canada), Post-graduate Scholarship B (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Canada). She has also received several awards including "2013 CMBE-BMES Rising Star-Fellow Award", "2010 Society For Biomaterials-STAR Award" to name a few.

Dr. Sant's research goals are to develop an independent and multidisciplinary research program at the interface of biomaterials, controlled drug delivery, and tissue engineering. Specifically, she aims to develop tissue-engineered tumor models that recreate the three-dimensional structure, cell-cell/cell-ECM interaction, stromal environments, and signalling cues present in vivo. Dr. Sant is a member of the Biomedical Engineering Society, Controlled Release Society, American Association of Cancer Research, the Indian Pharmaceutical Association, and Sigma Xi.


Past Positions:

2011-2012        Interdisciplinary Training Fellow, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering

                          Harvard University/ Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston

2008-2011        Research Fellow, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston

2008-2008        Clinical Research Assistant, Labopharm Inc., Canada 

2000-2002        Senior Research Fellow, SNDT Women's University, Mumbai, India

1999-2000        Lecturer in Pharmacology, University of Mumbai, India

1997-1999        Junior Research Fellow, Bombay College of Pharmacy, Mumbai, India




Vinayak Sant, Ph.D

Vinayak Sant, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of Pittsburgh. Vinayak completed his BS in Pharmaceutical sciences and MS in Pharmaceutics from University of Pune, India. He then pursued Ph. D at University of Mumbai, India in Pharmaceutics with specialization in novel drug delivery systems and moved to University of Montreal, Canada for postdoctoral research in the area of nanotechnology for solubility and bioavailability enhancement. Vinayak joined University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy after 9 years of industrial experience in companies such as Pharmascience Inc., Montreal, Canada, Labopharm Inc, Laval, Canada and Patheon Inc., Mississauga, Canada. His expertise include novel oral and parenteral dosage form development, nano/microparticulate delivery systems for solubility enhancement and cGMP manufacturing for IND / NDA filings. Vinayak has filed 5 patents and contributed in the development of platform technologies for modified/sustained drug delivery generating IP rights that have been successfully commercialized. At School of Pharmacy, Vinayak will be responsible for Non-thesis based Masters program in Pharmaceutical Sciences. He will also leverage his industrial and research experience to support other faculty members in their research programs.

Past Positions

2011-2012        Senior Technical Project Leader, Pharmaceutical Development Services, Patheon Inc.,

                          Mississauga, Canada

2006-2011        Manager, Formulation Development,  Labopharm Inc., Laval, Canada 

2004-2006        Scientist, Formulation Development, Pharmascience Inc., Montreal, Canada

2001-2004        Postdoctoral Fellow, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Montreal, Canada

2001-2001        Formulation Development Executive, Bharat Serums and Vaccines Ltd., India



Postdoc researcher

Manjulata Singh, PhD











Graduate Students


Yingfei Xue

PhD student, Pharmaceutical Sciences

Yingfei completed his BS in Pharmaceutical Engineering in 2012 at East China University of Sci & Tech, Shanghai, China. He then completed MS in pharmaceutical Sciences at University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy in October 2013. Before joining the Sant lab, he was a medicinal chemist working at synthetic methodology and new drug discovery lab. Currently, he is pursuing PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences. His research focuses on the synthesis of novel elastomers for tissue engineering and drug/gene delivery applications.





Akhil Patel

PhD student, Pharmaceutical Sciences

Akhil completed Bachelor of Pharmacy (2008-2012) from Gujarat Technological University, India. After joining Sant lab in August 2013, he pursed an MS in Pharmaceutical Sciences in Sant lab. He has been working on development of bioactive and biomimetic materials and augmenting the regeneration of damaged native tissues. His overall research interests include development of synthetic scaffolds mimicking natural extracellular matrix and study of cell-matrix interactions for bone and skeletal muscle regeneration.






 Tanvi Shah

MS student, Pharmaceutical Sciences

Tanvi completed her Bachelor in Pharmacy from the Institute of Chemical Technology in Mumbai, India in May 2017. She joined the Sant lab in Fall 2017 and is currently pursuing her MS-Thesis in Pharmaceutical Sciences. A budding entrepreneur with a strong background in formulation development and drug delivery, she is currently getting hands on experience in molecular biology.






Urmi Chheda




Undergraduate Students










Research Scientist

Qiaoke Gong


Lab Alumni

Tatyana Yatsenko

Bioengineering Undergraduate

Kishor Sarkar, PhD 

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Sumit Goenka 

Visiting Research Scholar 

Maria Jaramillo, PhD 

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Jr-Jiun Liou (Jean)

Visiting Research Scholars

Rebecca Hartley

Bioengineering Undergraduate

Yuka Higuchi

Bioengineering Undergraduate

Dan Mason

NT-MS Student

Shilpaa Mukundan

MS Student

Yuzhe Chen

MS Student

Vibishan Balasubramanian

Visiting Undergraduate Researcher

Abdul Sami

Visiting Researcher

Sameera Sansare

Visiting Researcher

Prithivirajan Durairajan

Visiting Undergraduate Researcher

Supraja Ranganahan

Visiting Undergraduate Researcher

Vijetha G.V Viju

Visiting Undergraduate Researcher

Sricharani rao Balmuri

Visiting Undergraduate Researcher

Harini Venkata Krishnan
MS Student
Yohann Pitale
MS Student
Lavanya Kondiparthi
MS Student