Dimitrios S. Tzeranis, Ph.D.

I am a research Engineer at the Systems Bioengineering Lab, Department of Mechanical Engineering at the National Technical University of Athens. A mechanical engineer by training (Dipl. Ing. 2003 N.T.U.A., S.M. 2005 M.I.T.), I obtained my PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, supervised by Prof. Ioannis V. Yannas (Regenerative Biomaterials Lab), and Prof. Peter TC So (Bioinstrumentation Engineering Analysis and Microscopy Lab).

I am interested in integrating biology, materials, optics and engineering to develop novel smart materials that can be utilized in regenerative medicine and biological engineering.

email: tzeranis@gmail.com
phone: (+30) 210-772-1516

Areas of Research Interest

Biomaterial Development

At the moment transplantation and autografting are the main ways to replace injured organs. There exist a few clinically significant treatments that can induce regeneration, all of them are biomaterial-based. Clearly, there is a significant need to develop new treatments that can induce regeneration in more severe wounds or in more kinds of injured organs. However, inducing regeneration in increasingly complex organs (e.g. liver, spinal cord, kindey) is expected to require increasingly sophisticated biomaterial treatmens. The development of such treatmets needs a deep understanding of the wound healing process in the organ of interest, and on the effects of biomaterials on the elementary processes of wound healing. I am interested in developing novel "smart" biomaterials for regenerative medicine by integrating experimental knowledge from existing established biomaterials, modern tools of biology, and emerging fabrication tools

Cell-Matrix Interactions

Currently, the vast majority of pharmaceutical treatments are based on soluble small molecules. However, there is significant evidence that the presence of an appropriate insoluble microenvironment (matrix) is a necessary component of several treatments (e.g. biomaterial grafts for regenerative medicine). Although the matrix is a major regulator of critical cell phenotypes in important biological processes such as wound healing and cancer, studying the effects of the matrix to cells is a challenging field due to the complex nature of the matrix (composition, mechanical properties, degradation, surface effects) and the complex nature of the machinery (receptors, signal transduction pathways) utilized by cells to sense and respond to the matrix. I am interested in developing new tools for i) characterizing the insoluble microenvironment as perceived by cells, ii) quantifying the adhesion strength & topology between various kinds of cells and various kinds of matrices, iii) quantifying the intramolecular signaling induced by adhesion and how this modulates other signal transduction pathway, iv) connecting the previous three aims in order to get a complete molecular-level picture of the cell-matrix interactions and how they can be utilized in the development of novel treatments.

Optical Imaging and Fabrication

Modern tools of optical imaging combined with genetic manipulation can provide in situ quantification of key biological processes (including interactions between cells and ECM or biomaterials) that cannot be acquired using traditional tools of biology and medicine. Emerging optical methods can be utilized to fabricate novel biomaterials of complex shape and chemistry on demand. I am interested in integrating and exploiting these tools in the design, characterization, fabrication and evaluation of novel biomaterial-based treatments.