JASON WERTHEIM- Northwestern University
Jason Wertheim
transplant surgeon and Vice Chair for Research, Department of Surgery, and the Edward G. Elcock Professor of Surgical Research at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

Biography:
Dr. Jason Wertheim, MD, PhD is a transplant surgeon and Vice Chair for Research, Department of Surgery, and the Edward G. Elcock Professor of Surgical Research at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. He is a physician-scientist with an NIH-funded laboratory studying the function of stem and progenitor cells within 3D biomaterials and scaffolds. As a practicing transplant surgeon with a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering, he conducts research at the intersection of stem cell biology, tissue bioengineering and regenerative medicine. The central goal of his laboratory is to identify essential mechanisms influencing stem cell differentiation using biomaterials to model tissue development and drive maturation. The ultimate goal is to discover new methods to repair, regenerate or replace damaged organs, such as the liver and kidney, with engineered composite tissues. Dr. Wertheim’s research incorporates bionanotechnology to modify and further functionalize extracellular matrix materials. Dr. Wertheim received the 2016 Vanguard Prize from the American Society of Transplant Surgeons. He serves as the co-Chair for the Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials Section of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine and the co-Chair the Tissue Engineering Committee within the Standards Coordinating Body. He currently services as Chair of the Respiratory Urologic and Gastrointestinal Thematic Interest Working Group, Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society, Americas (TERMIS-AM)

Bioengineering Materials to Tip the Balance Toward Maturation and Function of Stem Cell-derived Tissues
This talk addresses a major a challenge to stem cell-derived tissues, which continues to be the need for cell populations with higher function that are closer in phenotype to mature cells of the human body. Specific micro-environmental cutes are known to promote cellular development and induce cell-based changes that lead to phenotype profiles that may be more representative of primary cells and the tissues they form. We developed scaffolds that influence the function of individual cells of both hepatic and renal lineage. Over the course of the talk, different properties of materials will be presented that enable cells to develop into bio-replicative structures that lead to enhanced functional properties or, when materials are inappropriately tuned, lead to malformed tissues.  Together, these material-based attributes, and the cellular interactions that they mediate, present a delicate balance to generate ex vivo therapeutic cells and tissues.