Faculty Research Highlight: Marjan Rafat
Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
The Rafat Lab combines engineering and cancer biology concepts to examine the mechanisms driving tumor recurrence and metastasis. We study the relationship between tumor cells, normal tissues, and the immune system as a means of understanding the microenvironment to determine how each component contributes to metastasis and relapse after therapy. We aim to develop bio-inspired hydrogel materials and in vitro tumor- and tissue-on-a-chip models by learning from in vivo mouse models. Specifically, we study: (1) the collateral effect of radiation and surgery of normal tissues on tumor and immune cell migration patterns; (2) the nanoscale communication patterns of normal tissues wounded from therapy; and (3) the changes in the biomechanical properties of the tumor microenvironment and surrounding normal tissues following therapy. We analyze the physical, chemical, and biological cues that influence cancer metastasis and recurrence at the interface of engineering and medicine.
The Rafat Lab joined VINSE to be a part of the vibrant community interested in nanoscience research and education at Vanderbilt.
Learn more about Marjan Rafat and her research group