Akinola Akinbote

MIT Department: Biological Engineering

Undergraduate Institution: Case Western Reserve

Faculty Mentor: Roger Kamm

Research Supervisor: Kristina Haase

Website: LinkedIn

 2018 Research Poster


I was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, and  I am currently a Macromolecular Engineering major with a focus on biomaterials at Case Western Reserve University. My research interests span the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine to study injury settings and innovate therapeutics using a material-design based approach. When I am not studying, I enjoy cooking, biking, singing, hiking, and hanging out with friends.

2018 Research Abstract

Developing Physiologically Relevant in vitro Models for Cardiac and Pulmonary fibrosis

Akinola Akinbote1,2, Kristina Haase3, and Roger Kamm2,3

1Department of Biomedical Engineering, Case Western Reserve University

2Department of Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

3Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


In the injury and disease setting, the native tissue is remodelled as a reparative attempt in the wound healing process. Hallmarked by fibrosis and angiogenesis, post-injury remodeling results in reduced function and often whole organ failure. As fibrosis is prevalent in most cardiac and pulmonary pathologies, such as myocardial infarction and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, understanding the underlying fibrotic pathology is essential for the development of therapeutics. However, present day approaches utilize 2D culture models, which have limited physiological and clinical relevance. To meet this need, we propose the development of physiologically relevant in vitro fibrotic models that mimic in vivo conditions using our macroscale devices.  Co-culturing induced pluripotent stem cell-derived endothelial cells (iPS-ECs) with stromal cells in fibrin hydrogels, we developed vascularized tissues—identified by the formation of microvascular networks(MVNs)—to mimic either a cardiac or lung microvascular environment. The formation of these MVNs was monitored using phase microscopy prior to administering TGFβ and TNFα to induce fibrosis. Samples were stained and imaged using confocal microscopy. The morphology of these MVNs was characterized using custom-designed ImageJ macros. Our results indicate that: 1) iPS-ECs co-cultured with stromal cells result in the formation of perfusable MVNs; 2) narrowed morphology of the MVNs occurs when co-cultured with stromal cells in comparison to monoculture of iPS-ECs;  and suggest that: 3) fibrosis can be induced by using TGFβ and TNFα, 4) increased TNFα disrupts the integrity of these networks. The development of these vascularized tissues can provide more physiologically relevant models for the investigation of pathological fibrosis.