Dr. Carla Lacerda's Research Projects

Dr. Carla Lacerda's Research Projects

A brief summary of each

Our research focuses on the developing in vitro models to better study and understand the biomechanics and mechanobiology of components of the cardiovascular system. We use fabrication techniques such as 3d bioprinting and mechanical stimulation reactors to understand how cells respond to their microenvironment. We assess cell and tissue responses using omics tools and microscopy.


Bioprinting of aortic valve conduits

Bioprinting with hydrogels can be used to model a variety of tissue geometries and architectures, which in turn can be used to study disease progression in vitro, i.e., mimicking cellular phenotypes and conditions associated with the mechanical environment. We are interested in characterizing the environments and the cellular responses associated with such models.

Bioprinting with hydrogels


Pressurized devices for hypertension studies

Fabrication of spherical and cylindrical devices for pressurization is another tool currently under development to study models of hypertension in vessels or in the eye. In this project, we will culture cells contained in the devices, while maintaining pathological tissue pressures. The goals are once again to understand how cells respond at the molecular level, regulating transcript and protein expression when facing abnormal environmental conditions.

Eye diagramMeasuring fabricated material


Multi-level omics for identification of systems responses

The use of high-throughput scans of protein and gene expression facilitates the discovery of systems-level signatures, which can be manipulated to slow down or reverse disease conditions and drug discovery. Research designs for omics comparisons include RNA-sequencing and protein mass spectrometry, followed by 
bioinformatics analyses.