Samuel Herberg, PhD
RESEARCH PROGRAMS AND AFFILIATIONS
Ocular tissue engineering to create biomimetic 3D hydrogel models of tissues affected in glaucoma.
ASSOCIATIONS / MEMBERSHIPS
The research in Dr. Herberg’s laboratory is centered around understanding cellular and biomechanical aspects of tissue dysfunction in glaucoma, a neurodegenerative disease and leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. This includes both anterior and posterior ocular tissues, namely the trabecular meshwork and the lamina cribrosa at the optic nerve head. In particular, we are interested in determining the relative contributions of tissue-resident cells and their ECM to glaucomatous tissue stiffening affected by various mechanical forces. Most current cellular model systems do not sufficiently replicate the complex native cell-ECM interface. Tissue-engineered hydrogels are an ideal tool to investigate this pathology as they can be designed to mimic characteristics of the native 3D tissue environment, and enable accurate in vitro modeling of cellular and biomechanical behaviors under controlled conditions. Dr. Herberg’s interdisciplinary training in cell biology, bioengineering, and regenerative medicine informs the innovative use of biomimetic 3D cell-laden biopolymer hydrogels for in vitro glaucoma disease modeling. His line of research has the potential to advance our mechanistic understanding of glaucomatous tissue stiffening with focus on the 3D cell-ECM interface, and to establish a cutting-edge drug discovery platform for new POAG treatments with focus on ECM biomechanics.