Celeste Nelson

CELESTE NELSON

“Evolutionary Insights into Tissue Engineering”

Biography

Celeste M. Nelson is a Professor in the Departments of Chemical & Biological Engineering and Molecular Biology at Princeton University. She earned S.B. degrees in Chemical Engineering and Biology at MIT in 1998, a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 2003, followed by postdoctoral training in Life Sciences at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory until 2007. Her laboratory specializes in using engineered tissues and computational models to understand how mechanical forces direct developmental patterning events during tissue morphogenesis and during disease progression. She has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Nelson’s contributions to the fields of tissue mechanics and morphogenesis have been recognized by a number of awards, including a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award at the Scientific Interface (2007), a Packard Fellowship (2008), a Sloan Fellowship (2010), the MIT TR35 (2010), the Allan P. Colburn Award (2011), a Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (2012), and a Faculty Scholars Award from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (2016).

Abstract

The morphogenetic patterning that generates three-dimensional (3D) tissues requires dynamic concerted rearrangements of individual cells with respect to each other. We have developed microfabrication- and lithographic tissue engineering-based approaches to investigate the mechanical forces and downstream signaling responsible for generating the airways of the lung and the milk ducts of the mammary gland. I will discuss how we combine these experimental techniques with computational models to uncover the physical forces that drive development of engineered tissues and tissues in vivo. I will also describe efforts to uncover and actuate the different physical mechanisms used to build the airways in lungs from birds, mammals, and reptiles.