Alex J Hughes

faculty photo
Assistant Professor of Bioengineering in Cell and Developmental Biology
Department: Cell and Developmental Biology

Contact information
210 S. 33rd St.
Suite 240, Skirkanich Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: 2155735233
Lab: 2155736260
Graduate Group Affiliations
BE (Chemical & Materials Engineering)
University of Auckland, 2008.
BSc (Pharmacology)
University of Auckland, 2008.
PhD (Bioengineering)
University of California, Berkeley, 2013.
Post-Graduate Training
Postdoc, Bioengineering, University of California, San Francisco, 2013-2017.
Permanent link
> Perelman School of Medicine   > Faculty   > Details

Description of Research Expertise

Research Interests
Our lab works to bring developmental processes that operate in vertebrate embryos and regenerating organs under an engineering control framework, so that we can build better tissues. We study how cells conspire to create complex structures, so that we can build models of human disease, reconstituted tissues for regenerative medicine, and new types of biological machines.

Developmental engineering, epithelial morphogenesis, microfluidics, mechanics of development, kidney organogenesis.

Research Details
Many diseases arise from a breakdown in tissue structure, including cancers and congenital birth defects. We aim to reverse engineer the interactions between cells and their local environment that create and maintain the structure of tissues in the body.

We are particularly interested in learning to control patterning processes that occur in embryos, where the blueprint of adult tissues is established. We approach this by developing new cellular imaging, tissue construction, soft materials, and micro-scale engineering techniques.

Project areas: engineered shape-shifting soft materials including tissue scaffolds that impose developmentally relevant mechanical strains to study and synthetically drive morphogenesis, microfluidic devices for large-scale production of compositionally controlled organoids, single-cell proteomics using sequence-able antibody tag strategies, multiplexed cell patterning to synthetically reconstitute planar cell polarity dynamics.

Selected Publications

Gartner, Z, Hughes, A: MATERIALS SCIENCE Bioprinting in space and time. nature 572(7767): 38-39, AUG 1 2019.

Hughes, AJ, Mornin, JD, Biswas, SK, Beck, LE, Bauer, DP, Raj, A, Bianco, S, Gartner, ZJ: a tool for rapid, flexible, crowd-based annotation of images. nature methods 15(8): 587-+ AUG 2018.

Hughes, AJ, Miyazaki, H, Coyle, MC, Zhang, J, Laurie, MT, Chu, D, Vavrusova, Z, Schneider, RA, Klein, OD, Gartner, ZJ: Engineered Tissue Folding by Mechanical Compaction of the Mesenchyme. developmental cell 44(2): 165-+ JAN 22 2018.

Hughes, AJ, Coyle, MC, Zhang, J, Gartner, ZJ: Tissue origami: Directed folding of tissues by programmed cell contractility networks. molecular biology of the cell 27, 2016.

Todhunter, ME, Jee, NY, Hughes, AJ, Coyle, MC, Cerchiari, A, Farlow, J, Garbe, JC, LaBarge, MA, Desai, TA, Gartner, ZJ: Programmed synthesis of three-dimensional tissues. nature methods 12(10): 975-981, OCT 2015.

Hughes, AJ, Spelke, DP, Xu, ZC, Kang, CC, Schaffer, DV, Herr, AE: Single-cell western blotting. nature methods 11(7): 749-U94, JUL 2014.

Tentori, AM, Hughes, AJ, Herr, AE: Microchamber Integration Unifies Distinct Separation Modes for Two-Dimensional Electrophoresis. analytical chemistry 85(9): 4538-4545, MAY 7 2013.

Hughes, AJ, Herr, AE: Microfluidic Western blotting. proceedings of the national academy of sciences of the united states of america 109(52): 21450-21455, DEC 26 2012.

Hughes, AJ, Tentori, AM, Herr, AE: Bistable Isoelectric Point Photoswitching in Green Fluorescent Proteins Observed by Dynamic Immunoprobed Isoelectric Focusing. journal of the american chemical society 134(42): 17582-17591, OCT 24 2012.

Hughes, AJ, Lin, RKC, Peehl, DM, Herr, AE: Microfluidic integration for automated targeted proteomic assays. proceedings of the national academy of sciences of the united states of america 109(16): 5972-5977, APR 17 2012.

back to top
Last updated: 09/25/2019
The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania