As executive director of the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience, Dr. Andrés García leads multiple cross-disciplinary efforts designed to generate novel insights into a variety of research areas, including (1) the regulation of adhesive forces and mechanotransduction and (2) cell-instructive adhesive materials for tissue repair in regenerative medicine applications.
The lab aims to provide new mechanistic understanding of the interplay of mechanics and cell biology, and also create disruptive technologies and materials for regenerative medicine. Specifically, Dr. García's research into cellular and tissue engineering focuses on understanding the fundamental structure-function relationships governing cell-biomaterials interactions for bone and muscle applications. Current projects involve the analysis and manipulation of cell adhesion receptors and their extracellular matrix ligands.
Bio-inspired surfaces are another research focus for Dr. García—including the engineering of biomolecular surfaces to target specific adhesion receptors for modulating cell signaling and differentiation. These biomolecular strategies are applicable to the development of 3D hybrid scaffolds for enhanced tissue reconstruction, "smart" biomaterials, and cell growth supports.
A third primary research focus—genetic engineering approaches—involves efforts to engineer cells that form bone tissue to develop mineralized templates for enhanced bone repair.
- Infection-fighting materials: Engineering bacteriophage-delivering polymeric materials to reduce biomaterial-associated infections
- Adhesive force regulation and mechanotransduction: Establishing a novel strategy to rapidly and efficiently purify human stem cells and progeny based on differences in adhesive force
- Materials for islet transplantation and engraftment: Engineering synthetic hydrogels for controlled delivery of a vasculogenic protein that promote islet survival, engraftment, and function
- Integrin binding specificity to control cell-material interactions: Developing biomolecular strategies including engineering of bioactive materials for controlling integrin binding and cell adhesion to direct cell function and host responses
- Hydrogels for protein and cell delivery in regenerative medicine: Establishing a new class of hydrogels that can be used to support myriad regenerative applications, including therapeutic vascularization, bone repair, treatment of myocardial infarcts and arrhythmias, development of intestinal organoids, and colonic wound repair
- Molecular, cellular, and tissue biomechanics: Understanding the fundamental structure-function relationships governing cell-biomaterials
- Chemical biology: Researching the role(s) that chemical compounds may play in helping to solve complex biological problems
- Infection-fighting strategies: Developing materials and approaches to help mitigate or eradicate device-related infections during medical interventions
- Islet transplantation research: Understanding the promise of pancreatic islet transplantation therapy and the factors that either bolster or limit its success
- Protein and cell therapies: Researching the optimal conditions for these therapeutics to be successful in regenerative medicine applications
Dr. García is executive director of the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience and a Regents’ Professor at the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech. He is the 2021 recipient of the Class of 1934 Distinguished Professor Award, the highest honor given to a Georgia Tech professor. Dr. Garcia is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Inventors.
He also holds research affiliations with the following organizations at Georgia Tech:
- Marcus Center for Therapeutic Cell Characterization and Manufacturing
- Center for Immunoengineering
- Regenerative Engineering and Medicine research center (a collaboration with Emory University)
- Center for Drug Design, Development, and Delivery
- Center for Pediatric Innovation (a collaboration with Emory University)