Neda Latifi

Post-doctoral Fellow
Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering.
Joined in 2018.Research interests

  • Soft tissue engineering, emphasis on mechanically-active tissues
  • Cell-biomaterial interactions
  • Growth factors in tissue engineering
  • Development and characterization of biomaterials
  • Bioreactor technology

Contact Information

Research Summary

My postdoctoral research project mainly focuses on addressing the current challenges in the development of a functional living engineered heart valve replacement for the stenotic pulmonary valve in pediatric patients with Tetralogy of Fallot. I have developed culture conditions to successfully isolate and expand porcine umbilical cord perivascular cells (pUCPVCs), an autologous source of mesenchymal stromal cells that is readily available from discarded cords, to enable preclinical testing of engineered heart valve tissue in a porcine model. Further, I demonstrated their ability to synthesize the main extracellular matrix constituents of heart valve tissue in vitro. In on-going work, I have shown that pUCPVCs produce extracellular matrix on fibrous electro-spun scaffolds. I continue to characterize the composition and structure of these valve-like tissues and expect to have tissue sheets ready for in vivo testing in early 2021. Further, I investigate the effects of different biochemical stimuli such as two vitamin C derivatives and an array of growth factors on the biosynthesis activity of human UCPVCs. My goal is to direct cells cultured in three-dimensional scaffolding biomaterials to produce tissue-mimetic extracellular matrix proteins to ultimately create autologous living pulmonary heart valve implants. Further, I am an expert in atomic force microscopy imaging and indentation, and I am involved in several research projects for the biomechanical characterization of soft tissues, biomaterials, and cells.

Recent News Publications
  • Latifi Neda, Lecce Monica, Simmons Craig A. Porcine umbilical cord perivascular cells for preclinical testing of tissue engineered heart valves. Tissue Engineering Part C: Methods. 2020 | Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.