Dr. Sengupta completed her PhD from Stanford University's Department of Chemistry in 2012, where she studied protein-based biomaterials for muscle tissue engineering applications. Thereafter, she completed a short bioengineering postdoc at UC Berkeley, where she studied vascular stem cell differentiation. She is currently a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University’s School of Medicine in the Radiation Oncology department. Her current research is focused on the characterization of breast cancer cells using radioluminescence microscopy.

Honors & Awards

  • Siebel Stem Cell Postdoctoral Fellowship, UC Berkeley (2012)
  • Student Travel Achievement Recognition, Society for Biomaterials (2011)
  • Bio-X Conference Travel Award, Stanford University (2010)
  • Lyons Award, Stanford University (2009)
  • Forris Jewett Moore Graduate Fellowship, Amherst College (2006-2008)
  • Doughty Prize for Best Honors Chemistry Thesis, Amherst College (2006)
  • Belevetz Prize for Undergraduate Research, Amherst College (2005)
  • Hughes Summer Research Fellowship, Amherst College (2004)

Professional Education

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Stanford University, CHEM-PHD (2013)
  • Bachelor of Arts, Amherst College, Chemistry (2006)

Stanford Advisors

All Publications

  • Performance evaluation of F-18 radioluminescence microscopy using computational simulation MEDICAL PHYSICS Wang, Q., Sengupta, D., Kim, T. J., Pratx, G. 2017; 44 (5): 1782-1795

    View details for DOI 10.1002/mp.12198

    View details for Web of Science ID 000401154000018

  • Single-Cell Characterization of F-18-FLT Uptake with Radioluminescence Microscopy JOURNAL OF NUCLEAR MEDICINE Sengupta, D., Pratx, G. 2016; 57 (7): 1136-1140


    The radiotracer 3'-deoxy-3'-(18)F-fluorothymidine ((18)F-FLT) is commonly used to measure cell proliferation in vivo. As a marker of cell proliferation, (18)F-FLT is expected to be differentially taken up by arrested and actively dividing cells, but PET measures only aggregate uptake by tumor cells and therefore the single-cell distribution of (18)F-FLT is unknown. We used a novel in vitro radioluminescence microscopy technique to measure the differential distribution of (18)F-FLT radiotracer with single-cell precision.Using radioluminescence microscopy, we imaged the absolute uptake of (18)F-FLT in live MDA-MB-231 cells grown under different serum conditions. We then compared (18)F-FLT uptake with a standard measure of cell proliferation, using fluorescence microscopy of 5-ethynyl-2'-deoxyuridine incorporation in fixed cells.According to 5-ethynyl-2'-deoxyuridine staining, few cells (1%) actively cycled under serum deprivation whereas most of them (71%) did under 20% serum. The distribution of (18)F-FLT reflected this dynamic. At 0% serum, uptake of (18)F-FLT was heterogeneous but relatively low. At 20% serum, a subpopulation of (18)F-FLT-avid cells, representing 61% of the total population, emerged. Uptake of (18)F-FLT in this population was 5-fold higher than in the remainder of the cells. Such a dichotomous distribution is not typically observed with other radiotracers, such as (18)F-FDG.These results suggest that increased (18)F-FLT uptake by proliferating cells is due to a greater fraction of (18)F-FLT-avid cells rather than a change in (18)F-FLT uptake by individual cells. This finding is consistent with the fact that (18)F-FLT uptake is mediated by thymidine kinase 1 expression, which is higher in actively dividing cells. Overall, these findings suggest that, within the same patient, changes in (18)F-FLT uptake reflect changes in the number of actively dividing cells, provided other parameters remain the same.

    View details for DOI 10.2967/jnumed.115.167734

    View details for Web of Science ID 000378979200027

    View details for PubMedID 27081170

  • Radioluminescence microscopy of FLT uptake in single cells Journal of Nuclear Medicine Sengupta, D., Pratx, G. 2016; 57: 364
  • Imaging Metabolic Heterogeneity in Cancer Molecular Cancer Sengupta, D., Pratx, G. 2016; 15 (4): 1-12
  • Bright Lu2O3:Eu Thin-Film Scintillators for High-Resolution Radioluminescence Microscopy ADVANCED HEALTHCARE MATERIALS Sengupta, D., Miller, S., Marton, Z., Chin, F., Nagarkar, V., Pratx, G. 2015; 4 (14): 2064-2070
  • From In Vitro to In Situ Tissue Engineering ANNALS OF BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING Sengupta, D., Waldman, S. D., Li, S. 2014; 42 (7): 1537-1545


    In vitro tissue engineering enables the fabrication of functional tissues for tissue replacement. In addition, it allows us to build useful physiological and pathological models for mechanistic studies. However, the translation of in vitro tissue engineering into clinical therapies presents a number of technical and regulatory challenges. It is possible to circumvent the complexity of developing functional tissues in vitro by taking an in situ tissue engineering approach that uses the body as a native bioreactor to regenerate tissues. This approach harnesses the innate regenerative potential of the body and directs the appropriate cells to the site of injury. This review surveys the biomaterial-, cell-, and chemical factor-based strategies to engineer tissue in vitro and in situ.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s10439-014-1022-8

    View details for Web of Science ID 000338995900017

    View details for PubMedID 24809723

  • Vascular tissue engineering: from in vitro to in situ WILEY INTERDISCIPLINARY REVIEWS-SYSTEMS BIOLOGY AND MEDICINE Li, S., Sengupta, D., Chien, S. 2014; 6 (1): 61-76


    Blood vessels transport blood to deliver oxygen and nutrients. Vascular diseases such as atherosclerosis may result in obstruction of blood vessels and tissue ischemia. These conditions require blood vessel replacement to restore blood flow at the macrocirculatory level, and angiogenesis is critical for tissue regeneration and remodeling at the microcirculatory level. Vascular tissue engineering has focused on addressing these two major challenges. We provide a systematic review on various approaches for vascular graft tissue engineering. To create blood vessel substitutes, bioengineers and clinicians have explored technologies in cell engineering, materials science, stem cell biology, and medicine. The scaffolds for vascular grafts can be made from native matrix, synthetic polymers, or other biological materials. Besides endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells, and fibroblasts, expandable cells types such as adult stem cells, pluripotent stem cells, and reprogrammed cells have also been used for vascular tissue engineering. Cell-seeded functional tissue-engineered vascular grafts can be constructed in bioreactors in vitro. Alternatively, an autologous vascular graft can be generated in vivo by harvesting the capsule layer formed around a rod implanted in soft tissues. To overcome the scalability issue and make the grafts available off-the-shelf, nonthrombogenic vascular grafts have been engineered that rely on the host cells to regenerate blood vessels in situ. The rapid progress in the field of vascular tissue engineering has led to exciting preclinical and clinical trials. The advancement of micro-/nanotechnology and stem cell engineering, together with in-depth understanding of vascular regeneration mechanisms, will enable the development of new strategies for innovative therapies. WIREs Syst Biol Med 2014, 6:61-76. doi: 10.1002/wsbm.1246 For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website. Conflict of interest: The authors have declared no conflicts of interest for this article.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/wsbm.1246

    View details for Web of Science ID 000328558500004

    View details for PubMedID 24151038

  • Protein-Engineered Biomaterials to Generate Human Skeletal Muscle Mimics ADVANCED HEALTHCARE MATERIALS Sengupta, D., Gilbert, P. M., Johnson, K. J., Blau, H. M., Heilshorn, S. C. 2012; 1 (6): 785-789

    View details for DOI 10.1002/adhm.201200195

    View details for Web of Science ID 000315120500014

    View details for PubMedID 23184832

  • Protein-engineered biomaterials: Nanoscale mimics of the extracellular matrix BIOCHIMICA ET BIOPHYSICA ACTA-GENERAL SUBJECTS Romano, N. H., Sengupta, D., Chung, C., Heilshorn, S. C. 2011; 1810 (3): 339-349


    Traditional materials used as in vitro cell culture substrates are rigid and flat surfaces that lack the exquisite nano- and micro-scale features of the in vivo extracellular environment. While these surfaces can be coated with harvested extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins to partially recapitulate the bio-instructive nature of the ECM, these harvested proteins often exhibit large batch-to-batch variability and can be difficult to customize for specific biological studies. In contrast, recombinant protein technology can be utilized to synthesize families of 3 dimensional protein-engineered biomaterials that are cyto-compatible, reproducible, and fully customizable.Here we describe a modular design strategy to synthesize protein-engineered biomaterials that fuse together multiple repeats of nanoscale peptide design motifs into full-length engineered ECM mimics.Due to the molecular-level precision of recombinant protein synthesis, these biomaterials can be tailored to include a variety of bio-instructional ligands at specified densities, to exhibit mechanical properties that match those of native tissue, and to include proteolytic target sites that enable cell-triggered scaffold remodeling. Furthermore, these biomaterials can be processed into forms that are injectable for minimally-invasive delivery or spatially patterned to enable the release of multiple drugs with distinct release kinetics.Given the reproducibility and flexibility of these protein-engineered biomaterials, they are ideal substrates for reductionist biological studies of cell-matrix interactions, for in vitro models of physiological processes, and for bio-instructive scaffolds in regenerative medicine therapies. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Nanotechnologies - Emerging Applications in Biomedicine.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.bbagen.2010.07.005

    View details for Web of Science ID 000287470900012

    View details for PubMedID 20647034

  • Protein-Engineered Biomaterials: Highly Tunable Tissue Engineering Scaffolds TISSUE ENGINEERING PART B-REVIEWS Sengupta, D., Heilshorn, S. C. 2010; 16 (3): 285-293


    A common goal in tissue engineering is to attain the ability to tailor specific cell-scaffold interactions and thereby gain control over cell behavior. The tunable nature of protein-engineered biomaterials enables independent tailoring of a range of biomaterial properties, creating an attractive alternative to synthetic polymeric scaffolds or harvested natural scaffolds. Protein-engineered biomaterials are comprised of modular peptide domains with various functionalities that are encoded into a DNA plasmid, transfected into an organism of choice, and expressed and purified to yield a biopolymer with exact molecular-level sequence specification. Because of the modular design strategy of protein-engineered biomaterials, these scaffolds can be easily modified to enable optimization for specific tissue engineering applications. By including multiple peptide domains with different functionalities in a single, modular biomaterial, the scaffolds can be designed to mimic the diverse properties of the natural extracellular matrix, including cell adhesion, cell signaling, elasticity, and biodegradability. Recently, the field of protein-engineered biomaterials has expanded to include functional modules that are not normally present in the extracellular matrix, thus expanding the scope and functionality of these materials. For example, these modules can include noncanonical amino acids, inorganic-binding domains, and DNA-binding sequences. The modularity, tunability, and sequence specificity of protein-engineered biomaterials make them attractive candidates for use as substrates for a variety of tissue engineering applications.

    View details for DOI 10.1089/ten.teb.2009.0591

    View details for Web of Science ID 000278640000002

    View details for PubMedID 20141386

  • Adaptive protein-based scaffolds for neural engineering Sengupta, D., Straley, K., Heilshorn, S. C. AMER CHEMICAL SOC. 2010
  • Covalently linked nanocomposites: Poly(methyl methacrylate) brushes grafted from zirconium phosphonate CHEMISTRY OF MATERIALS Burkett, S. L., Ko, N., Stern, N. D., Caissie, J. A., Sengupta, D. 2006; 18 (21): 5137-5143

    View details for DOI 10.1021/cm0614517

    View details for Web of Science ID 000241106800024