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Tara L. Deans

Phone: 801-585-7859
Office: BPRB 108B

Tara L. Deans

BS Biology, Washington State University
PhD Biomedical Engineering, Boston University
Postdoc Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University


Synthetic Biology, Tissue Engineering, Materials Science, Regenerative Medicine

Current Research

One of the largest hurdles in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine is the establishment of in vitro systems that support normal stem cell function, including self-renewal and appropriate lineage-specific differentiation. We combine synthetic biology and materials science to engineer bioinspired microenvironments for stem cell maintenance and proliferation that catalyze the development of cell-based therapies for disease.

Current research includes the following projects:
1) Synthetic biology develop new tools to regulate gene expression in mammalian cells
2) Cell based therapies engineer cells as therapeutic entities
3) Biomaterials engineer materials to mimic extracellular matrix remodeling to support
differentiating stem cells
4) Tissue engineering engineer bioinspired microenvironments to better understand healthy
and diseased states of tissue

Selected Publications

Fitzgerald M, Gibbs C, Shimpi AA, Deans TL, Adoption of the Q Transcriptional System for Regulating Gene Expression in Stem Cells. ACS Synth Biol 2017 Aug 14;:

Deans TL, Grainger DW, Fussenegger M, Synthetic Biology: Innovative approaches for pharmaceutics and drug delivery. Adv Drug Deliv Rev 2016 Oct 1;105(Pt A):1-2

MacDonald IC, Deans TL, Tools and applications in synthetic biology. Adv Drug Deliv Rev 2016 Oct 1;105(Pt A):20-34

Lam A, Deans TL, A noisy tug of war: the battle between transcript production and degradation in the liver. Dev Cell 2015 Apr 6;33(1):3-4

Deans TL, Singh A, Gibson M, Elisseeff JH, Regulating synthetic gene networks in 3D materials. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2012 Sep 18;109(38):15217-22

Deans TL, Elisseeff JH, The life of a cell: probing the complex relationships with the world. Cell Stem Cell 2010 Jun 4;6(6):499-501

Deans TL, Elisseeff JH, Stem cells in musculoskeletal engineered tissue. Curr Opin Biotechnol 2009 Oct;20(5):537-44

Deans TL, Cantor CR, Collins JJ, A tunable genetic switch based on RNAi and repressor proteins for regulating gene expression in mammalian cells. Cell 2007 Jul 27;130(2):363-72