ENGINEERING CELL MICROENVIRONMENT USING NOVEL HYDROGELS FOR BIOMEDICAL APPLICATIONS
Xi’an Jiaotong University, China Bioinspired Engineering and Biomechanics Center, Xi’an Jiaotong University, China
With advances in micro- and nanoscale technologies, it has been possible to manipulate cells in microscale volumes with precision comparable to the natural systems to address challenges in medicine. In this talk, I will present the unique opportunity of microengineering in solving significant clinical problems in medicine, especially 3D microscale tissue engineering. I will begin by introducing engineering of cell microenvironment to generate 3D tissue constructs by assembling micro-engineered tissue blocks (mesoscale cell-laden hydrogels) using several approaches including magnetic force, acoustic power and electrostatic interaction. The tissue assembly process recapitulates the native tissue formation from repeating functional units (i.e., myofiber, lobule or nephron). Several bottom-up approaches (e.g., cell printing, microgel assembly) are demonstrated for engineering complex 3D tissue constructs with delicate microarchitecture, cell-cell interactions and internal vascular-like network that have not been achieved by conventional ‘top-down’ tissue engineering approaches. Examples of applying these approaches in tissue engineering, biomechanics, cancer biology, stem cell niche, cell-based biosensor, and high throughput drug screening will also be presented. The approaches for manipulating cells in microscale volume presented here hold great promise for developing complex tissue substitutes and cellbased systems for bio-sensing and drug screening.