Innovative Methods by Engineers to Make 3-D Living Tissue Shapes


Tissues in mammals often form complex shapes in 3-dimensional patterns. This is the basis of an exclusive study by scientists at the Center for Cellular Construction in the University of California, San Francisco. Through this study, researchers attempted to mechanically design various shapes out of living tissues. The researchers patterned several shapes in the form of ripples, coils and bowls through a web of fibers, which could fold in predictable waves. The study published in the journal ‘Developmental Cell, explains how natural developmental processes can be mimicked by recreating living tissues.

Improvement in Cellular Development as a Key Research Aim

According to senior author Zev Gartner, any kind of cellular development can pose as a canvas in metaphorical terms, which further can be used for engineering purposes. In this manner, the research aims to usher in more clarity about how we understand the fundamental concepts of biology. The mechanically active cells in the tissues are able to completely change how the tissues’ shapes are formed. In this way, we could see a better picture of how complex synthetic tissues might work, especially from a functionality perspective.

This research is expected to be very useful in order to cure treat several ailments related to body tissues. Gartner and his team are currently considering how tissue folding and tissue patterning can be clubbed in a single program. The researchers aim to carefully document how cell reactions differ to varying mechanical changes occurring during tissue folding. For this, the researchers are planning to gain some valuable information about how embryo tissue works during its development.

The study has also drawn inspiration from other labs which have made some progress by 3D printing or micro-molding shapes that are needed for tissue engineering. The only key element missing in these studies were some structural features of the tissues that exhibit specific growth attributes. This shortfall can now be filled up through the research carried out in the University of California.

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