Postdoctoral Fellow, Biomedical Engineering – Boston University, 2005
Ph.D. Chemical Engineering – University of Texas Austin, 2003
B.S. Chemical Engineering – Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1998
Our research focuses on designing biomaterials for tissue engineering applications. This multidisciplinary area couples engineering, life sciences, and clinical medicine to develop strategies to repair damaged tissues. To do this, we require a detailed understanding of body’s own biomaterials (i.e., the proteins and carbohydrates of the extracellular matrix), the cellular machinery by which the biomaterials are assembled and degraded, and how the dynamic microscale interactions of these components influence tissue physiology.
Currently, we are designing, synthesizing, and characterizing biomaterials created from naturally derived and synthetic biopolymers. We are implementing these novel biomaterials as a platform to gain a more detailed understanding of neural and cancer cell behavior. By correlating the impact of individual substrate properties on cell behavior, we will elucidate key design principles that will aid in the development of improved therapies to treat nerve injury and tumor growth.
Selected Publications – Google Scholar
Ribeiro A, S Vargo, E Powell, JB Leach. (2012) Substrate three-dimensionality induces elemental morphological transformation of sensory neurons on a physiologic timescale.Tissue Engineering 18:93-102. [PMID: 21910606]
Zustiak S, JB Leach. (2011) Characterization of Protein Release from Hydrolytically Degradable Poly(ethylene glycol) Hydrogels. Biotechnology & Bioengineering 108:197-206. [PMID: 20803477]
Zustiak S, H Boukari, JB Leach. (2010) Solute Diffusion and Interactions in Cross-Linked Poly(ethylene glycol) Hydrogels Studied by Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy. Soft Matter 6:3609-18. [PMCID: 3057087]
Zustiak S, R Durbal, JB Leach. (2010) Covalent Incorporation of Cell-Adhesive Peptide Ligands into Poly(ethylene glycol) Hydrogels Influences Physical, Mechanical and Transport Properties. Acta Biomaterialia 6:3404-14. [PMID: 20385260]
Zustiak S, JB Leach. (2010) Hydrolytically Degradable Poly(Ethylene Glycol) Hydrogel Scaffolds with Tunable Degradation and Mechanical Properties. Biomacromolecules11(5):1348-1357. [PMID: 20355705]
Leach JB, EM Powell. (2010) Understanding hypoxic environments – Biomaterials approaches to neural stabilization and regeneration after ischemia. In Studies in Mechanobiology, Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials, Vol 2: Biomaterials as Stem Cell Niche, 247-274. [DOI]
Leach JB, AKH Achyuta, S Murthy. (2010) Bridging the Divide Between Neuroprosthetic Design, Tissue Engineering and Neurobiology. Frontiers in Neuroengineering 2:article 18, doi: 10.3389/neuro.16.018.2009 [PMID: 20161810]
Acosta M, P Ymele-Leki, Y Kostov, JB Leach. (2009) Fluorescent microparticles for sensing cell microenvironment oxygen levels within 3D scaffolds. Biomaterials30:3069-74. [PMID: 19285719]