Tissue engineering

Nanoscale patterning is an essential tool in the creation of structures that match the scale and complexity of those in native tissues. CNME research within this area involves both the improvement of patterning methods and their application to the development of in vitro tissue models. Specifically, the Shaochen Chen lab focuses on computer-assisted, light-based 3D nanopatterning of hydrogels, which could allow uniform vascularization of cellular constructs. Such a development would represent a major step forward, as the non-uniform vascularization resulting from endothelial cell infiltration may not support extended culture or survival of implants. In contrast, a collaboration between Adah Almutairi and Alysson Muotri’s labs aims to develop an in vitro model of the development of cortical neurons by layering distinct cells and materials to align axons. This project is motivated by the expectation that behavior in an organized, 3D construct would better represent the in vivo setting than that on a flat plastic dish.