Centers & Facilities

Centers

Tufts University Center for Cellular Agriculture (TUCCA)

The Tufts University Center for Cellular Agriculture (TUCCA) tackles one of the most complex humanitarian crises in decades – the critical need to build a healthy, sustainable, and just food system that meets the nutritional and food security needs of a population expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, as well as a doubling of meat consumption in that same time period. Established to accelerate cellular agriculture research, TUCCA works closely with students and faculty across disciplines within our ecosystem at Tufts, as well as with other universities and colleges and with industry and regulators, to foster the growth of this burgeoning industry. The group aims to provide a solid scientific foundation via published, peer-reviewed data, bring innovation in technology, provide consistency in quality measures to guide the field, and foster workforce development and broader educational impact.

Tissue Engineering Resource Center (TERC)

The P41 Tissue Engineering Resource Center was initiated in August of 2004 with funding provided by the NIH (supported through the NIBIB). The core themes in the Center continue to focus on functional tissue engineering achieved through the integration of the key elements in the field, via a systems approach; cells, scaffolds and bioreactors to control the environment. The Center is run at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts and is directed by Professor David Kaplan. The Center also includes a partner institution, Columbia University in New York City, where the Associate Director for TERC, Professor Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, runs additional aspects of the Center. There are two main cores in TERC, a biomaterials core at Tufts University and a bioreactor core at Columbia University. Stem cells and related cell biology needs are integrated into these two core efforts to optimize functional tissue outcomes.

Initiative for Neural Science, Disease & Engineering (INSciDE @ Tufts)

The Initiative for Neural Science, Disease & Engineering (INSciDE@Tufts) is an interdisciplinary center with multi-scale focus on brain and peripheral nervous system structure, function, and disease. Launched in the fall of 2017 from the new Science & Engineering Complex (SEC) on the campus of Tufts University, the goal of the initiative is to elucidate the molecular pathways and cellular and neural circuit defects that cause neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders. Led by the team of David Kaplan, PhD (Director, INSciDE; Professor & Chair, BME), Michael Lovett, PhD (Deputy Director, INSciDE), and Thomas Nieland, PhD (Research Associate Professor, BME & INSciDE), the focus of INSciDE is to integrate bioengineering, stem cell biology, and regenerative medicine with technological innovation and therapeutic approaches to unravel the mechanisms of cognition and to uncover cures for neurological diseases, including Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, and Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Facilities

Research Environment

The scientific environment in the Kaplan lab fosters synergy and collaboration among investigators, students and faculty. State-of-the-art laboratories are maintained including core facilities available through the Tissue Engineering Resource Center (TERC). Examples include the unique Biophysical Characterization Lab, Protein Processing Lab, Advanced Technology Lab, as well as the unique NIH-sponsored P41 Resource Center on Tissue Engineering, with our collaborative partner at Columbia University. These labs host our students and faculty, as well as visitors from other labs, provide training, and allow students and faculty at Tufts to interact actively with many researchers from around the world on a routine basis. The Silk Lab is a prime example of the above synergy, as it is a lab established collaboratively between the Omenetto and Kaplan labs to promote students to work together. The Advanced Technology Lab is a prime example of the above synergy, as it is a lab established without borders, to promote students and faculty to work together in labs, regardless of their programmatic affiliation, on joint research projects.

Laboratories

There are a number of full-scale laboratories in the Science & Technology Center and laboratories located at 200 Boston Avenue.

Biomaterials/Protein Processing Lab - Systems to prepare polymers for use in biomaterial studies, from processing and purification equipment to materials formation from these solutions.

Biophysical Characterization Lab - A range of analytical tools to fully characterize material structure and morphology, including Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy, Aviv Circular Dichroism, Atomic Force Microscopes, thermal mechanical systems, X-ray, Langmuir systems, Quartz Crystal Microbalance and related systems.

Cell and Tissue Culture Labs - Full facilities for growth and characterization of mammalian and insect cells, including stem cells and other cell sources. Equipment includes bioreactors, cell storage, histology, gas sterilization and related needs, range of incubators (oxygen control), egg systems, and microscopes.

Histology Lab - Reichert-Jung cryotome (Cryocut 1800), Leica EG1160 paraffin embedded, Shandon Hypercenter XP tissue processor, rotary microtome (Radical Instruments RMT-30).