Tara Deans

Tara Deans

Assistant Professor
University of Utah

My research program utilizes molecular biology, genetic engineering, and mathematical modeling to develop functional platforms of synthetic biology tailored for applications in stem cell biology, regenerative medicine, drug delivery, cell-based therapeutics, and disease monitoring. My lab also interfaces synthetic biology and biomaterials to engineer bioinspired dynamic microenvironments to enhance stem cell proliferation in vitro.

Based upon the need for improved tools to enhance the production of platelets and red blood cells in vitro to be used for therapeutic applications, our lab has three synergistic focus groups to study hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) cell fate: (1) Build novel genetic tools to control the contributions of intrinsic cues on HSC proliferation and differentiation (synthetic biology), (2) Engineer genetically interactive biomaterials to control the extrinsic cues on HSC proliferation and differentiation (coupling synthetic biology with biomaterials), and (3) Engineering cells to deliver therapeutic biomolecules to sites of injury and/or disease (synthetic biology).