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Multifunctional polymer scaffolds for stem cell differentiation

Project description

Novel materials for stem cell differentiation

Stem cells play a central role in tissue engineering as they can be used in regenerative treatments, in biomimetic implants or to form in vitro platforms for drug discovery. Recent developments in 3D biocompatible materials are expected to revolutionise biomedical engineering. The EU-funded MultiStem project will take advantage of novel optically and electrically active biomaterials to generate 3D multifunctional scaffolds for stem cell control. The idea is to investigate the electrical and optical cues that impact stem cell differentiation and understand how these materials may be used for biological applications. The project's results are expected to advance stem cell research towards therapeutic goals and radically improve existing bioelectronic devices.

Objective

The field of bioelectronics devices that can translate ionic signals in our bodies into electronic signals, is one of the most remarkable success stories of science and engineering over the last decades. Although such devices have been lifesavers (i.e. pacemakers, glucose meters), recent discoveries are about to change the entire pharmaceutical industry. Organic bioelectronics, devices based on biocompatible polymers, opening new horizons in biomedical engineering. Recent developments in 3D materials and devices show a tremendous potential to deliver human-like platforms for tissue growth, however, these devices are still in their infancy. This project aims to take a fundamental approach to designing composite materials with electrical and optical properties that may be used for a multitude of applications in biomedical engineering. The project proposes the realization of 3D multifunctional scaffolds for stem cell control by blending optically and electrically active biocompatible polymers. Beginning with films, to understand mixing and properties, the project will gain insight into how these materials may be used for biological applications. Subsequently, the materials will be prepared in 3D formats and used to host stem cells. The multifunctional properties of the proposed scaffolds will be used to determine the effect of electrical and optical cues on stem cell differentiation. Stem cells play a key role in tissue engineering medicine as they have already proven effective in developing new treatments. These highly biomimetic platforms and the fundamental knowledge produced in this project will be an invaluable tool to further progress with stem cell research towards therapeutic goals. As such, the outcomes of this proposal can, in the short term, benefit the field of organic bioelectronics by providing fundamental knowledge and a novel platform for a facile control of cell function and in the long term, can impact the global need for better treatment of diseases.

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Coordinator

THE CHANCELLOR MASTERS AND SCHOLARS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE
Net EU contribution
€ 224 933,76
Address
Trinity lane the old schools
CB2 1TN Cambridge
United Kingdom

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Region
East of England East Anglia Cambridgeshire CC
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Other funding
€ 0,00