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Remotely-controlled functional synthetic tissues

Remotely-controlled functional synthetic tissues

Objective

We will make synthetic tissues for applications in medicine. In the short-term, synthetic tissues will be used to deliver therapeutics; ultimately, synthetic tissues will be used as components of surgical implants. The synthetic tissues will be formed from patterned 3D-printed picoliter droplet networks. They will be functionally active and subject to external control. They will be safe, because they cannot replicate. Key aspects of synthetic tissues, which were introduced by our laboratory, remain unexplored. At this point, our initial work justifies an adventurous full research program. The capabilities of biological tissues greatly exceed those of individual cells, because the cells in them cooperate to produce emergent properties. Our approach considers, but does not strictly mimic nature. 3D printers make patterned networks of picoliter droplets, separated from each other by individual lipid bilayers, which can be functionalized with membrane proteins to allow internal and external communication. In early work, we showed that droplet networks can change shape and transmit electrical signals. Now, we will greatly extend the properties of these materials. We will produce synthetic tissues with excellent fidelity, at high resolution, with faithful patterning and of superior strength and stability. Hierarchical cm-scale structures will be assembled from mm-scale networks. We will make functional tissues able to change shape rapidly and reversibly, take up, transform and release molecules, and generate and use energy. Functional synthetic tissues will be controlled remotely with light, heat, and magnetism. Outputs will include ATP generation and protein expression. Finally, we will explore two illustrative applications of synthetic tissues: the controlled synthesis and release of therapeutic peptides, and the ability to modulate the activities of neurons and muscle cells. Discoveries derived from this ERC grant will be commercialized with investor funding.
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Host institution

THE CHANCELLOR, MASTERS AND SCHOLARS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD

Address

Wellington Square University Offices
Ox1 2jd Oxford

United Kingdom

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 2 428 065

Beneficiaries (1)

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THE CHANCELLOR, MASTERS AND SCHOLARS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD

United Kingdom

EU Contribution

€ 2 428 065

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 833792

Status

Grant agreement signed

  • Start date

    1 August 2019

  • End date

    31 July 2024

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.1.

  • Overall budget:

    € 2 428 065

  • EU contribution

    € 2 428 065

Hosted by:

THE CHANCELLOR, MASTERS AND SCHOLARS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD

United Kingdom