Sant Lab

Developing Biomimetic Microenvironments for Regenerative Therapies


Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, PA







Welcome to Sant Laboratory


The goal of our laboratory is to develop an independent and multidisciplinary research program at the interface of biomaterials, controlled drug delivery, and tissue engineering. We use interdisciplinary approach to build biomimetic microenvironments in vitro based on our expertise in the Pharmaceutical Sciences, Materials Sciences, Cell Biology and Micro/nanotechnologies.  Specifically, we aim to develop tissue-engineered tumor models that recreate the three-dimensional structure, cell-cell/cell-matrix interaction, stromal environments, and signalling cues present in vivo. These three-dimensional models will be used for understanding the pathophysiology of the disease as well as for preclinical evaluation of drug safety and efficacy.


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Recent News

Congratulation to Dr. Shilpa Sant for being named as one of the eleven 2017 Young Innovators of Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering (CMBE)! Please check our award-winning research here. Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering, an official journal of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), publishes research that advances the study and control of mechanical, chemical, and electrical processes of the cell. Each year, the editors of CMBE dedicate the Young Innovators special issue to highlighting the work of assistant professors conducting innovative bioengineering research at the molecular, cellular, and multicellular level. Please join Dr. Sant's special, two-part invited presentation session on Friday, October 13 at the 2017 Annual Meeting of BMES in Phoenix, Arizona. (9-20-17)




We would like to welcome new graduate students to Sant Lab! Welcome, Tanvi, Shweta, Urmi and Mrunal! (8-28-17)


Congratulation to Yingfei for having his baby, Mingyi! We welcome baby Mingyi to our lab family! (7-31-17)


Congratulation to Yohann for his successful MS thesis defense! We wish Yohann all the best in his future endeavours! (7-17-17)


Congratulation to Akhil for winning the Graduate Student Excellence Award in School of Pharmacy! Good job, Akhil! (6-22-17)


Please check out our newly published review aticle in Drug Discovery Today: Technologies (IF=5.625): The production of 3D tumor spheroids for cancer drug discovery in collaboration with Dr. Johnston in School of Pharmacy!


Sant lab presented 1 oral and 1 poster presentation at 2017 SFB annual meeting in Minneapolis, MN on 5-8 April 2017. 


Congratulation to Dr. Manjulata Singh and Harini for manuscript entitled "Controlled Three-Dimensional Tumor Microenvironments Recapitulate Phenotypic Features and Differential Drug Response in Early vs Advanced Stage Breast Cancer" being accepted in ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering, one of the top tier journal in the field!


Congratulation to Yingfei and Tatyana for their research manuscript "PEGylated poly (ester amide) elastomer scaffolds for soft tissue engineering" being accepted in Polymers for Advanced Technologies (IF: 1.8)!


Congratulation to Dr. Sarkar and Yingfei for their book chapter "Host Response to Synthetic Versus Natural Biomaterials" being accepted in Book "The Immune Response to Implanted Materials and Devices"!


Congratulation to Yingfei for his review manuscript "Biodegradable and biomimetic elastomeric scaffolds for tissue-engineered heart valves" being accepted in Acta Biomaterialia (IF: 6.008), one of the top tier journal in the field! 


Congratulation to Akhil for his review manuscript "Hypoxic tumor microenvironment: Opportunities to develop targeted therapies" being accepted in Biotechnology advances (IF: 9.848), one of the top tier journal in the field! 


Our recent work on 3D microtumor progression model published in Cancer Research is highlighted on PNAS journal club. Read more here!


Dr. Shilpa Sant delivers an invited talk on “Engineering anisotropy at nano- to macroscale: Towards bioactive biomaterials” at CIMTEC, 5-9 June 2016, Italy. Please see details here!


Congratulation to Dr. Manjulata Singh for manuscript entitled "Three-Dimensional Breast Cancer Models Mimic Hallmarks of Size-Induced Tumor Progression" being accepted in Cancer Research (IF: 9.329), one of the top tier journal in the field! Please see the full text here!


Sant lab presented 3 oral and 1 poster presentation at 10th World Biomaterials Congress (WBC) in Montreal, Canada on 15-22 May 2016. 


Dr. Shilpa Sant featured on “Women in Nanoscience” blog for our recent work on carbon-based hierarchical scaffolds in skeletal muscle regeneration” Check this out!


We are in news!! Our work in skeletal muscle tissue engineering using carbon-based scaffolds in collaboration with Dr. Sharmila Mukhopadhyay is highlighted in MaterialsToday news. 


Dr. Shilpa Sant received a Rising Star Award for Early Career Faculty from the Biomedical Engineering Society during the Biomedical Engineering Society-Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering meeting held in New Orleans, LA., January 2016. Congratulations!!


Congratulations to Akhil for his newly published article "Carbon-based Hierarchical Scaffolds for Myoblast Differentiation: Synergy between Nano-functionalization and Alignment" in Acta biomaterialia (IF:6.025!!). This is a work in collaboration with Dr. Sharmila Mukhopadhyay.


Congratulations to Yingfei and Akhil for acceptance of a research article entitled "Semiquantitative FTIR Analysis of the Crosslinking Density of Poly(ester amide)-Based Thermoset Elastomers" in Macromolecular Materials and Engineering. (Dec, 2015)


Just published article: PEGylated poly(ester amide) elastomers with tunable physico-chemical, mechanical and degradation properties in European Polymer Journal by Yingfei and Akhil!! (09/21/15)


Congratulations to Akhil and Tatyana for being selected to give an oral presentation at 2015 BMES annual meeting in Tampa, FL. The title for Akhil's talk will be "Carbon Nanotube Functionalization and Scaffold Geometry Promote Differentiation of Myoblasts" and the topic of Tatyana's talk is "Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) Affects Mechanical and Biological Properties of Poly(ester amide) Based Fibrous Scaffolds". (09/14/15)


Another review from our lab in Journal of Controlled Release. Cardiac gene therapy! Congratulation Dan, Yuzhe and Harini!!


Congratulations to Harini Venkata Krishnan who is one of four winners in the 2015 Global Academic Competition for Life Science Leaders of Tomorrow!!! Harini's review entitled "Three-dimensional cell cultures: Opportunities for Drug Discovery and Development." This prestigious award is funded by Catalent Applied Drug Delivery Institute and the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists.


Congratulations to Manjulata Singh, PhD for acceptance of a research article entitled "Production of Uniform 3D Microtumors in Hydrogel Microwell Arrays for Measurement of Viability, Morphology, and Signaling Pathway Activation" in Assay and Drug Development Technologies! It is a collaboration work with Dr. Paul Johnston in Pitt Pharmacy!!


Congratulations to Tatyana! Tatayana was awarded a summer research fellowship to carry out her research project with Dr. Shilpa Sant. This award is being funded by the Swanson School of Engineering and the Office of the Provost.


Congratulations to Akhil Patel for being selected to give an oral presentation at the Society for Biomaterials (SFB) 2015 Annual Meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, April 15-18. Akhil spoke at the session entitled “Biomimetic Materials for Tissue Engineering”. The title of his presentation was “Biomimetic Fibrous Hydrogels with Aligned Hierarchical Structure Promote Biomineralization in vitro.” SFB annual meeting is the key conference exhibiting the cutting edge of biomaterials science from a variety of disciplines. SFB 2015 hosted 1,400 of the nation’s leading experts in the biomaterials science. Congrats Akhil for this great achievement!!!


Congratulations to Shilpaa Mukundan for acceptance of a research article entitled "Nanofibrous composite scaffolds of poly (ester amides) with tunable physicochemical and degradation properties" in European Polymer Journal! 


We are proud to announce that Shilpaa Mukundan has received the prestigious Sigma Xi Grant in Aid of Research (GIAR) award of $ 1,000 for her proposal on "Polymeric nanocomposite scaffolds for skeletal muscle tissue engineering". Sigma Xi is an international, multidisciplinary research society whose programs and activities promote the health of the scientific enterprise and honor scientific achievement. The Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid of Research program has a highly competitive application process and only approximately 20% of applicants receive this award. Congrats Shilpaa for this great achievement!!!


Congratulations to Sumit Goenka for acceptance of a review entitled "Graphene-based nanomaterials for drug delivery and tissue engineering" in Journal of Controlled Release (impact factor 7.63)! Sumit was a Visiting Research Scholar in the lab (Nov'12-Feb'13).


Dr. Shilpa Sant has been named as "Rising Star/Fellow" for 2013 by the Cellular & Molecular Bioengineering (CMBE)-Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES). Dr. Sant was invited to present an oral talk on her research "In vitro manipulation of BMP4 gradient in early odontogenesis" in Session I: Tissue morphogenesis and repair. The award was presented at the Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering Conference in Hawaii during 2-5 Jan 2013. Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering is a special interest group of Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) and consists of BMES member scientists, clinicians and engineers interested in exploring the mechansims by which physical regulation influences life.


Dr. Shilpa Sant appointed at McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine.


Dr. Shilpa Sant has been elected as a full member of the Scientific Research Society, Sigma Xi.








Congratulation to Yingfei for his review manuscript "Biodegradable and biomimetic elastomeric scaffolds for tissue-engineered heart valves" being accepted in Acta biomaterialia (IF: 6.008), one of the top tier journal in the field!