Dr. Verbridge is primarily interested in cell-tissue interactions that occur during tumor progression and therapy response. He is broadly interested in leveraging 3D engineered models of diseased tissue in order to dissect these various interactions, with the goal of ultimately improving cancer therapies. Specific projects in the Verbridge lab involve synthesis of new biomimetic tissue scaffold systems, and the use of these platforms to understand the role of matrix degradation components, low-grade inflammation, as well as microbiome residents on cancer dynamics. These projects are in collaboration with researchers in the Chemistry and Biology departments at Virginia Tech. We additionally work on other highly clinically motivated topics in collaboration with other CTE members, focusing on malignant brain tumors. We specifically collaborate with Dr. Rafael Davalos on leveraging tissue-engineered brain models in combination with mathematical tissue simulations to better understand the response of various cell types to electric field- based therapies such as Irreversible Electroporation. The goal of this research is to make these treatments more targeted in nature, so that only highly malignant cell types are destroyed. This work is also in collaboration with clinicians and researchers in the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, and the Wake Forest Comprehensive Cancer Center.