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The Palecek Lab

Our group at the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Wisconsin at Madison is interested in characterizing the nature in which quantitative changes in the flow of cellular signals can control a wide variety of useful processes. With this information we will design strategies to stimulate or inhibit cellular signaling pathways either at the chemical or physical level, and thereby regulate cell functions. Specifically we focus on human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) and anti-fungal drug design.

hPSCs hold tremendous potential for use in tissue engineering applications because of their virtually unlimited capability to self-renew and their ability to differentiate into any cell type found in the adult. Thus, under the proper conditions, it is possible to generate a limitless supply of a desired cell type from a single, safe source. We focus on differentiating brain cells, including brain microvascular endothelial cells, and heart cells, including cardiomyocytes, from hPSCs.

Our group is also investigating anti-fungal drug design and delivery. We aim to generate peptides which will reduce clinical prevalence of fungal related infections and demonstrate effective delivery on catheter surfaces and titanium implants.