Explore Living Cell Growth in 3D Micro-scaffolds for Regenerative Medicine

Mechanical and Materials Engineering Faculty
Faculty Advisor
Ruiguo Yang
Contact Email
Potential UCARE Research Position?
Start Date
3/1/2017 but flexible
Paid or Volunteer
Volunteer, can apply for UCARE 17-18

Physical and mechanical interactions govern biological systems at the molecular, cellular and tissue levels. The fundamental mechanisms of these interactions converge on mechanobiology, an emerging field of scientific inquisition at the intersection of physics, engineering and biology. At the cellular level, mechanical interaction regulates every facet of the cell cycle. Modulating cellular micro-environment has been regarded as key to potential therapeutic interventions for many diseases, including cancer.

Conventional in situ mechanical modulation relies on two-dimensional (2D) cell culture models by engineering planar substrates where cells grow. Mounting evidence has demonstrated significant physiological differences between cells growing in 2D model and three-dimensional (3D) micro-environments, putting requirements on biomaterials design for scaffolds in 3D cell culture. Although 3D scaffold holds great potential in drug delivery and tissue engineering, its study is still in the early stages, where systematic control of biomaterial property, structure dimensionality and chemical composition is currently not feasible.

This project explores cellular growth and functioning in an engineered 3D micro-scaffold. The goal is to investigate how geometrical and material properties can influence cellular growth in the 3D microenvironment. The specific tasks will include, but not limited to, cell culture and maintenance and imaging of living cells using different microscopy, such as optical microscopy, fluorescence microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy. Students will have an opportunity to interact with engineers and biological scientists in a multidisciplinary team. The learning process in carrying out the project will foster students’ perspective in nanotechnology and biotechnology research.

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