Shilpa Sant, PhD is an Assistant Professor at University of Pittsburgh in the Departments of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Bioengineering. Before joining Pitt, she was a Ruth Kirschstein NRSA Interdisciplinary training fellow at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard University, and the Center for Bioengineering at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA.

Dr. Sant received a PhD in Pharmaceutical Technology from University of Montreal, Canada, MS in Pharmacology and BS (BPharm) in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Mumbai. She has extensive research experience in diverse fields including materials science, polymer chemistry, drug delivery, tissue engineering, natural and synthetic biomaterials and microfabrication.

Her postdoctoral research involved fabrication of functionalized bioinspired materials and scaffolds applicable for the heart valve and tooth germ tissue engineering. She has contributed over 40 articles in peer-reviewed journals, 5 book chapters, 8 conference abstracts, over 50 podia and over 70 poster presentations. She has also edited a book entitled “Nanomaterials in Tissue Engineering: Fabrication and Applications” and a journal issue “Stem Cells: Microenvironment, Micro/Nanotechnology, and Application”, in “Stem Cells International”.

Dr. Sant’s exemplary achievements in research have been recognized by prestigious fellowships: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NIH, USA), Post-doctoral Fellowship (Le Fonds Quebecoise de Recherche sur Nature et Technologies (FQRNT), Canada), Post-graduate Scholarship B (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Canada). She has also received several awards including “2016 CMBE-BMES Rising Star Early Career Faculty Award” “2013 CMBE-BMES Rising Star/Fellow Award”, “2010 Society For Biomaterials – STAR Award” to name a few. She serves as an Associate Editor for IEEE Transaction on NanoBioScience, editorial board member for Scientific Reports and In Silico pharmacology to name a few.

Dr. Sant's research goals are to develop an independent and multidisciplinary research program at the interface of biomaterials, controlled drug delivery, and tissue engineering. Specifically, she aims to develop tissue-engineered disease models that recreate the three-dimensional structure, cell-cell/cell-ECM interaction, stromal environments, and signalling cues present in vivo. Dr. Sant is a member of the Biomedical Engineering Society, Society for Biomaterials, American Association of Cancer Research, the Indian Pharmaceutical Association, and Sigma Xi.

-Cell-instructive biomaterials for regenerative therapy
-Biomimetic three-dimensional microenvironments mimicking diseased pathology
-Targeted nanocarriers as vaccine for viral infections and for cancer immunotherapy

Goal of our laboratory is to develop an independent and multidisciplinary research program at the interface of biomaterials, controlled drug delivery, and tissue engineering in the tumor and musculoskeletal area. In the pharmaceutical companies, cell-based assays are routinely used for screening drug safety and efficacy. However, traditional two-dimensional (2D) cell culture techniques often fail to recapitulate microenvironmental context and relevant complexity of tissues in vivo leading to poor predictions about drug effectiveness and response in clinical trials. Cancer is perfect example of a complex disease where tumor microenvironment plays important role in tumor progression, metastasis and invasion. Despite the amount of efforts and money invested in the drug development, success of the majority of clinical trials remains poor due to lack of well-defined, reproducible in vitro 3D models based on human cells as well as failure of in vivo animal models to recapitulate human pathophysiology. Hence, our lab is interested in developing tissue-engineered models that recreate the 3D structure, cell-cell/cell-ECM interaction, stromal environments (in case of tumor), and signalling cues present in vivo. We use microfabrication, tissue engineering, materials science and drug delivery principles to control cellular microenvironments and develop regenerative therapies. Currently, we are using microfabrication approaches to control the size of tumor microtissues and study microenvironmental differences in these microtissues. We also have projects related to bioinspired material fabrication using microfluidics. We work with biodegradable polymers, physically and chemically crosslinkable hydrogels and polymer-nanomaterial composites. We are interested in processing these materials to mimic in vivo interfaces using various techniques such as electrospinning, micro/nanofabrication, layer-by-layer technique as well as morphogen gradients. Overall, our lab uses multidisciplinary approaches using Materials science, drug delivery technology, tissue engineering principles and micro/nanofabrication to create biomimetic microenvironments to test drug safety and efficacy. We encourage undergraduate research and always interested in highly motivated and hardworking student volunteers looking for hands-on research experience!

3. Patel A and Sant S# Hypoxic tumor microenvironments: Opportunities for targeted therapies, Biotech Adv (IF=9.015) 2016 In press
4. Singh M, Mukundan S., Jaramillo M, Oesterreich S, Sant S# Three-dimensional breast cancer models mimic hallmarks of size-induced tumor progression, Cancer Res (IF=9.33) 2016 In Press
5. Sarkar K, Xue Y, Sant S Host response to synthetic versus natural biomaterials In “Immune Response to Implanted Materials and Devices,” Eds. Corradetti B., Springer US 2016 Book Chapter
6. Patel A*, Xue Y*, Mukundan S, Rohan, LC, Sant V, Stolz DB, Sant S# Cell-instructive graphene-containing nanocomposites induce multinucleated myotube formation, Annals of Biomedical Engineering (IF=3.2) 2016 44(6), 2036-2048. Journal Cover Art.
7. Xue Y, Patel A, Sant V, Sant S# Semi-quantitative FTIR analysis of the crosslinking density of poly (ester amide) based thermoset elastomers, Macromol Mater Eng (IF=2.66) 2016 301: 296−305.
8. Patel A, Mukundan S, Wang W, Karumuri A, Sant V, Mukhopadhyay SM, Sant S# Carbon-based hierarchical scaffolds for myoblast differentiation: Synergy between nano-functionalization and alignment, Acta Biomater (IF=6.03) 2016 32: 77-88. Highlighted by Materials Today ( and Women in Nanoscience blog (
9. Xue Y, Patel A, Sant V, Sant S# PEGylated poly(ester amide) elastomers with tunable physico-chemical, mechanical and degradation properties, Eur Polym J (IF=3.24) 2015 173-179.
10. Mason D, Chen Y, Krishnan HV, Sant S# Cardiac gene therapy: Recent advances and future directions, J Control Rel (IF=7.7), 2015 215: 101-111.
11. Chen Y, Sant V, Sant S# Anisotropic nanoparticles for drug delivery, In “Nanoparticles for biotherapeutic delivery (Vol 1)”, Eds. Ramsay J. and Forrest L., Future Science Ltd. 2015 pp 78-92. Book Chapter
12. Sant V, Goenka S, Sant S# Emerging applications of graphene in drug and gene delivery, in “Nanoparticles for biotherapeutic delivery (Vol 2)”, Eds. Ramsay J. and Forrest L., Future Science Ltd. 2015 pp 104-116. Book Chapter
13. Singh M, Close DA, Mukundan S, Johnston PA, Sant S# Production of uniform 3D microtumors in hydrogel microwell arrays for measurement of viability, morphology and signaling pathway activation, Assay and Drug Development Technologies (IF: 1.53), 2015 13(9): 570-583. Featured on the cover of the journal issue.
14. Liu H, Toh WS, Ng KW, Sant S, Salgado A, Zhang, Z Editorial: Stem Cells: Microenvironment, Micro/Nanotechnology, and Application, Stem Cells International (IF=2.813) 2015 1-2.
15. Mukundan S, Sant V, Goenka S, Franks J, Rohan, LC, Sant S# Nanofibrous composite scaffolds of poly(ester amides) with tunable physicochemical and degradation properties, Eur Polym J (IF=3.24) 2015 21-35.
16. Gaharwar AK*, Nikkhah M*, Sant S# Khademhosseini A# Anisotopic poly(glycerol sebacate)-Poly(ε-caprolactone) electrospun fibers promote endothelial cell guidance, Biofabrication (IF=4.289) 2015 7(1).
17. Eslami M, Vrana EN, Zorlutuna P, Sant S, Jung S, Masoumi N, Khavari-Nejad RA, Javadi G, Khademhosseini A Fiber-reinforced hydrogel scaffolds for heart valve tissue engineering, J Biomater Appl (IF=2.764) 2014 29(3): 399-410.
18. Goenka S, Sant V, Sant S# Graphene-based nanomaterials for drug delivery and tissue engineering, J Control Rel (IF=7.7) 2014 173:75. One of the top hottest articles (2013, 2014) and the most downloaded article (2014, 2015) in ScienceDirect.
19. Bae H, Chu H, Edalat F, Cha JM, Sant S, Kashyap A, Ahari A, Kwon CH, Nichol JW, Manoucheri S, Wang Y, Khademhosseini A. Development of functional biomaterials with micro- and nanoscale technologies tissue engineering and drug delivery applications, J Tissue Eng Regen Med (IF=5.2), 2014 8(1):1-14.
20. Gaharwar A, Mihaila SM, Swami A, Patel A, Sant S, Reis RL, Marques AP, Gomes ME#, Khademhosseini, A.# Bioactive Silicate Nanoplatelets for Osteogenic Differentiation of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells, Adv Mater (IF=15.41), 2013 25 (24):3329-3336.
21. Sant S, Iyer D, Gaharwar A, Khademhosseini A. Effect of biodegradation and de novo matrix synthesis on the mechanical properties of Valvular interstitial cell-seeded polyglycerol sebacate-polycaprolactone scaffolds, Acta Biomaterialia (IF=6.03), 2013 9:5963-5973.
22. Coutinho D*, Sant S*, Shakiba M, Wang B, Gomes ME, Neves NM, Reis RL, Khademhosseini A., Microfabricated photocrosslinkable polyelectrolyte-complex of chitosan and methacrylated gellan gum, J Mater Chem (IF=7.44), 2012 22: 17262-17271.
23. Sant S, Tao S, Fisher O, Xu Q, Khademhosseini A. Microfabrication technologies for oral drug delivery, Adv Drug Deliv Rev ((IF=15.04), 2012 64(6): 496-507. Featured on the Cover
24. Sant S, Coutinho D, Sadr N, Reis RL, Khademhosseini A. “Tissue-analogs by the assembly of engineered hydrogel blocks” In: Biomimetic approaches for biomaterial development, Joao F. Mano ed., Wiley-VCH, Verlag,GmBH, Germany, 2012, pp. 471-493. Book chapter
25. Tong Z, Sant S, Khademhosseini A, Jia X. Fibroblastic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells cultured on fibrous polyester scaffolds, Tissue Eng Part A (IF=4.45), 2011 17(21-22): 2773-2785.
26. Kwon CH, Wheeldon I, Kachouie N, Lee SH, Bae H, Sant S., Fukuda J., Kang JW, Khademhosseini A. Drug-eluting micro-arrays for cell-based screening of chemical-induced apoptosis, Analytical Chemistry (IF=5.64), 2011 83(11): 4118-4125.
27. Yamanlar S*, Sant S*, Picart C, Khademhosseini A. Surface functionalization of hyaluronic acid hydrogels by polyelectrolyte multilayer films, Biomaterials (IF=8.56), 2011 32(24): 5590-5599 Highlighted in Extracellular Matrix Cell News, 2.19 in the issue of 19th May 2011.
28. Sant S, Hwang CM, Lee S-H, Khademhosseini A. Hybrid PGS-PCL Microfibrous scaffolds with improved mechanical and biological properties, J Tissue Eng Regen Med (IF=5.2), 2011 5:283-291.
29. Soliman S, Sant S, Nichol JW, Khabiry M, Travesa E, Khademhosseini A. Controlling porosity of fibrous scaffolds by modulating packing density and fiber diameter, J Biomed Mater Res A (IF=3.37), 2011 96A(3):566-74.
30. Mahmoudi M, Sant S, Wang B, Laurent S, Sen T. Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs): Development, surface modification and applications in chemotherapy, Advanced Drug Delivery Rev (IF=15.04), 2011 63:24-46, One of the top 25 hottest articles (2010-2015) and Topmost 3rd article in Sciencedirect (2011).
31. Sant S, Hancock MJ, Donnelly JP, Iyer D, Khademhosseini A. Biomimetic gradient hydrogels for tissue Engineering, Can J Chem Eng (IF=1.23), 2010 88(6): 899-911 One of the top ten most-accessed articles (2011).
32. Coutinho D, Sant S, Shin H, Oliveira JT, Gomes ME, Neves NM, Khademhosseini A, Reis RL. Modified Gellan Gum Hydrogels with Tunable Mechanical and Degradation properties, Biomaterials (IF=8.31), 2010 31(29):7494-7502.
33. Hwang CM, Sant S, Masaeli M, Zamanian B, Lee S-H, Khademhosseini A. Fabrication of 3D porous cell-laden hydrogel Scaffolds, Biofabrication (IF=4.302), 2010 2(3).
34. Sant S, Poulin S, Hildgen P. Effect of polymer architecture on surface properties, plasma protein adsorption and cellular interactions of pegylated nanoparticles, J Biomed Mater Res A (IF=3.37), 2008 87:885-895.
35. Sant S, Thommes M, Hildgen P. Microporous structure and drug release kinetics of polymeric nanoparticles, Langmuir (IF=4.46), 2008 24 (1): 280-287.
36. Nadeau V, Rabanel J-M, Sant S, Chahwan R, Clas S-D, Hildgen P. Synthesis and characterization of biodegradable and charged salen-based polymers, J. Appl. Polymer Sci (IF=1.6), 2006 102 (3): 2568-2577.
37. Rabanel J-M, Bertrand N, Sant S, Louati S and Hildgen P. “Polysaccharide hydrogels for the preparation of immunoisolated cell delivery systems” In: Polysaccharides for drug delivery and pharmaceutical applications, Robert H. Marchessault, François Ravenelle And Xiao Xia Zhu Eds., American Chemical Society, Washington, ACS Symposium series no. 934, 2006, pp. 305-339. Book chapter
38. Sant S, Nadeau V, Hildgen P. Effect of porosity on the release kinetics of propafenone-loaded PEG-g-PLA nanoparticles, J Control Release (IF=7.7), 2005 107(2): 203-214.
39. Nadeau V, Leclair G, Sant S, Rabanel J-M, Quesnel R, Hildgen P. Synthesis of new versatile functionalized polyesters for biomedical applications, Polymer (IF=3.56), 2005 46(25): 11263-11272.
40. Gaikwad SY, Jagtap AG, Ingle AD, Rao SGA, Gude RP, Antimetastatic activity of niosomal pentoxifylline and its combination with activated macrophages in murine B16F10 melanoma model, Cancer Biotherapy and Radiopharmaceuticals (IF=1.78), 2000 15 (6), 605-615.
41. Jagtap AG and Gaikwad SY, Applications of genomic pharmacology in cancer treatment, (Review) Indian Drugs, 2000 37 (1), 22.