Dr. Taboas’ expertise is in skeletal tissue regeneration, stem cell mechanobiology, tissue engineering scaffolds, microfluidics devices, and real-time live-cell microscopy based functional bioassays. His laboratory develops approaches to regenerate cartilaginous interfacial tissues. These include the physis (epiphyseal growth plate), the mandibular condyle fibrocartilage, tendon and ligament insertion sites (entheses), the tide mark in articular cartilage, and the vertebral endplates. Cartilaginous interfaces share a common architectural feature: spatially discrete but proximate populations of chondrocytes at distinct states of differentiation. The physis is the cartilaginous interfacial tissue at the ends of limb bones that drives appendicular skeletal growth. No clinical approach exists to restore growth at the physis; it is a good model for cartilaginous interface tissue regeneration because it has chondrocytes at all stages of endochondral ossification, a process of coordinated cellular progression through all states with progenitors supplying new cells into the cycle at one end. The laboratory also collaborates with several PIs in the CCR to regenerate other skeletal and craniofacial tissues.
The laboratory employs novel hydrogel scaffolds, cell micro-patterning, custom microfluidic bioreactors, and real-time microscopy-based analysis to study cell- material interactions in engineered microtissues and how the microenvironment modulates intracellular signaling, cell-cell communication, and tissue patterning and growth. These results are applied to the laboratory's tissue engineering approaches.
Dr. Taboas’s research interests include repair and regeneration of skeletal and craniofacial tissues, with a focus on bone and cartilaginous interfacial tissues. Current research includes:
- Physeal regeneration in juveniles to treat growth plate injury (tethers, osteosarcoma), skeletal dysplasia and complex bone injury;
- Physeal fracture repair in juveniles: tissue glue to promote proper healing
- Dental pulp regeneration in juveniles: injectable biomaterial to recruit stem cells and guide vital tissue formation (collaboration with Drs. Beniash, Ray and Sfeir)
- Extremity regeneration in adults: bone engineering in compromised wounds (e.g. blast injury, open fractures, collaboration with Drs. Almarza, Davis and Wang)
- Microtissue fabrication for drug screening and therapy development. Can be cultured in custom microfluidic bioreactors design in house.