Shulamit Levenberg, Associate Professor

Research Interests:

Tissue engineering, stem cells, Tissue vascularization, 3D biomaterials , droplet microfluidics, mechanical interplay between cells and scaffolds.

Short Synopsis:

A specific interest of the Levenberg lab is in understanding the dynamic of tissue vascularization both in vitro, within engineered tissues, and in vivo, following integration of implanted tissue constructs (ERC starting grant).  Our aim is to understand how cell migration, gene expression and cellular forces are jointly coordinated to achieve defined vascular patterns within defined tissue environment, and how these networks signal to the surrounding tissue to affect its differentiation, survival and function. To study these interactions we developed a multicellular model of vascular network formation within engineered muscle (cardiac and skeletal) and pancreatic tissues (JDRF/ISF grant). Since implanted tissue induces rapid vascularization process that involve anastomosis and perfusion of preexisting tubes with newly formed sprouts we develop in vitro and in vivo systems to study these cellular interactions. We also study spinal cord regeneration and neural–endothelial interactions.  In parallel, some of Prof Levenberg projects focus on the impact scaffold mechanical properties bear on the fate of cell differentiation and organization.  To this end, her group has developed scaffolds of varying elastic moduli and has demonstrated the effect of scaffold stiffness on organization and differentiation of embedded embryonic stem cells.
As a member of the Technion Interdisciplinary Nanotechnology program, Prof Levenberg combine biology and engineering disciplines towards development of micro-bioreactors designed to support stem cell growth and manipulations. She focuses on utilizing microfluidics as a novel biotechnology platform for biomedical device and tissue engineering applications. Recently, a novel nanoliter droplet microarray which allows long culture of single cells was developed in her lab. Prof Levenberg is collaborating with Prof Amit Meller, and she is part of the I-core on “Physical Approaches to Quantifying Dynamical Processes in Living Systems”. She is also collaboration with Prof. Gliad Yossifun and Prof Dan Peer on a Tashtiot Grant  on  “A microfluidic System-On-a-Chip platform for parallel single cell screening and analysis based on dielectrophoresis, nanobeads and nanoliter droplet”. Levenberg was also part of  a  FP7-Europian Small Collaborative Project on “Nanopatterned scaffolds for active myocardial implants” in  collaboartion with Prof Spatz and Prof Geiger. Recently,  she spent her sabbatical at the Harvrad Wyss institute for Biology Inspired Engineereing and coolaboarte with Profs Ingber and Moooney from the institute.

Shandalov Y,  Egozi D, Koffler J, Dado-Rosenfeld D,  Ben-Shimol D, Freiman A, Shor E, Kabla A, Levenberg S. An engineered muscle flap for reconstruction of large soft tissue defects.  PNAS . In press (2014)
Blinder Y, Mooney DJ, Levenberg S. Engineering Approaches for Inducing Blood Vessel Formation. Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering. In press (2014)
Avesar J, Ben Arye T, and Levenberg S. Frontier microfluidic techniques for short and long-term single cell analysis.  Lab ob a Chip. In press (2014)
Blumenthal J, Cohen-Matsliah SI, Levenberg S. Olfactory bulb-derived cells seeded on 3D scaffolds exhibit neurotrophic factor expression and pro-angiogenic properties. Tissue Engineering Journal Part A. Epub ahead of print (2013)
Rozitsky L, Fine A, Dado D, Nussbaum-Ben-Shaul S, Levenberg S, Yossifon G. Quantifying continuous-flow dielectrophoretic trapping of cells and micro-particles on micro-electrode array. Biomed Microdevices. Epub ahead of print (2013)