Within the Bioengineering laboratory at Sabancı University, we are dedicated to solving intricate biological challenges through the application of engineering methodologies and pioneering innovative technologies. Our primary focus centers on the in-depth study of the brain and various neurological diseases. At the heart of our research lies the intricate cerebrovascular structure within the brain, commonly known as the blood-brain barrier.
While the blood-brain barrier has evolved to protect brain tissue from pathogens and toxic substances, it paradoxically hinders drug delivery, making the treatment of brain diseases a formidable challenge. Adding to this complexity, the composition and protein profile of the blood-brain barrier differ among various diseases. To understand these variations and to develop effective treatments, we have adopted a multidisciplinary approach within our laboratory.
Our research team comprises molecular biologists and engineers, allowing us to faithfully replicate human physiology within a dynamic in vitro environment. We achieve this through the use of blood-brain barrier models, meticulously engineered using human cells and stem cell technologies, complemented by microfluidic systems. These innovative models are invaluable tools for examining the blood-brain barrier in both healthy and pathological conditions, facilitating comprehensive drug transport studies.
Operating under the Mustafaoglu Lab, we allocate our resources to develop these models for a spectrum of neurological conditions, including but not limited to Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, brain cancer, and even rare afflictions such as fatal familial insomnia. Furthermore, our research extends to exploring the influence of gut microbiota on the integrity of the blood-brain barrier, especially in conditions like stroke.
Of utmost importance, these revolutionary disease models offer a significant opportunity for the development of advanced drug delivery systems tailored to address various brain-related maladies. Our research group is actively engaged in the exploration of nano-carrier systems designed for this crucial purpose. The incorporation of human stem cells within these systems not only provides an advantage in translating drug trials into clinical settings but also substantially reduces the reliance on animal models in the realm of drug development.