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Aleksander Skardal, PhD

Aleksander Skardal, PhD, Assistant Professor

Dr. Skardal received his B.Sc. degree in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 2005. Following that, he received his Ph.D in Bioengineering from the University of Utah in 2010. Dr. Skardal joined the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in 2010 as a postdoctoral research fellow and is now an Assistant Professor.


  1. Development and implementation of customized hydrogel biomaterials for regenerative medicine and tissue engineering applications.
  2. Tissue engineered micro-tissue organoid platforms and fluidic devices for in vitro toxicology and drug screening.
  3. In vitro cancer models for pathway exploration, drug screening, and personalized medicine.
  4. The role of tissue mechanical properties on normal tissue and tumor cell phenotype.

DETAILED AREA OF INTEREST: Currently there is a major gap in methods to study complex biological mechanisms in controlled environments that can be extensively manipulated. Animal models are not necessarily predictive of results in humans and are expensive, and many traditional in vitro cell culture models are too primitive and differ significantly from in vivo conditions. More accurate 3-D in vitro models that mimic in vivo human tissues, are powerful tools that can be employed in many arenas, including cancer biology, drug development, and pathogen modeling, and can decrease dependency on animal experimentation, reduce R&D time and costs, benefiting researchers and patients alike. To create such in vitro models we are combining technologies, including highly customizable hydrogel biomaterials, biofabrication techniques, and microfluidic devices to create environments that can better mimic the conditions in the body. These platforms are being implemented to create several types of systems. We are exploring tumor biology and metastasis in systems that allow manipulations of the physical environment, screening of drugs and drug candidates, and implementation of various cell populations. Using microfluidic devices paired with tissue engineered organoids, we can mimic biology of multiple tissue types in the lab, and explore how they interact under the influence of drugs and toxins. In the realm of cancer, we can employ these devices under circulation to recapitulate phenomena that occur during metastasis of tumor cells migrating through the blood stream to target downstream tissues.

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Institute for Regenerative Medicine

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