Dr. Simon W.M. Young
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
School of Dentistry
Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery
Dr. Young’s research efforts include the synthesis and characterization of implantable biomaterials designed to elicit in situ cell recruitment and programming. His work includes the use of materials able to simultaneously deliver multiple bioactive factors with distinct release profiles. These constructs have been used in a diverse set of applications such as the promotion of craniofacial bone regeneration and cancer immunotherapy. He has broad experience in the fields of polymer synthesis and characterization, growth factor delivery, in vivo models, characterization of bone and neovascularization, cancer immunotherapy, and implantable therapeutic cancer vaccines. In addition, Dr. Young is a board-certified oral & maxillofacial surgeon with significant experience in the treatment and reconstruction of craniomaxillofacial trauma and pathology.
The focus of his current research is to develop novel material-based immunotherapies for the treatment of head and neck cancer and explore mechanisms of how this approach may synergize with other modalities of treatment such as chemo/radiation therapy.
The paradigm of in situ cell programming using biomaterials is also being utilized in separate tissue engineering research projects in collaboration with MIT and Rice University, exploring the use of layer-by-layer technology to deliver bioactive factors for the enhancement of craniofacial bone regeneration and multidomain peptide hydrogels for nerve regeneration, respectively.
Graduate students working on these projects will gain broad experience in biomaterials fabrication and characterization, techniques for evaluating the in vivo effectiveness of immunotherapies (flow cytometry, multiplex immunohistochemistry) and bone engineering constructs (histomorphometry, micro-computed tomography, MRI), and the use of preclinical rodent and rabbit models for both cancer and tissue regeneration research.