Navigation Links
Nanostructures with living cells
Date:2/5/2013

This press release is available in German.

The behavior of cells strongly depends on their environment. If they are to be researched an manipulated, it is crucial to embed them in suitable surroundings. Aleksandr Ovsianikov is developing a laser system, which allows living cells to be incorporated into intricate taylor-made structures, similar to biological tissue, in which cells are surrounded by the extracellular matrix. This technology is particularly important for artificially growing biotissue, for finding new drugs or for stem cell research. Ovsianikov has now been awarded the ERC Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) of approximately 1.5 million Euros.

High-Tech-Structures for Biomedical Research

"Growing cells on a flat surface is easy, but such cell cultures often behave differently from the cells in a real three dimensional tissue", says Aleksandr Ovsianikov. While in two dimensions, conventional Petri dishes are used, no standard system has yet been available for three dimensional cell cultures. Such a 3D-matrix needs to be porous, so that the cells can be supplied with all the necessary nutrients. Furthermore, it is important that the geometry, chemical and mechanical parameters of this matrix can be precisely adjusted in order to study and induce necessary cell responses. Also, it is important that the structure can be produced quickly and in large quantities, as biological experiments usually have to be carried out in many cell cultures at the same time to yield reliable data.

These requirements are met very well by the research group "Additive Manufacturing Technologies" at the Vienna University of Technology. The interdisciplinary team of researchers has been developing special technologies to create three dimensional structures with precision on a sub-micrometer scale. "We want to develop a universal method, which can serve as a standard for three dimensional cell cultures and which can be adapted for different kinds of tissue and different kinds of cells", says Aleksandr Ovsianikov.

Laser Turns Liquid into Taylor-Made Scaffold

At first, the cells are suspended in a liquid, which mainly consists of water. Cell-friendly molecules are added, which react with light in a very special way: a focused laser beam breaks up double bonds at exactly the right places. A chemical chain reaction then causes the molecules to bond and create a polymer.

This reaction is only triggered when two laser photons are absorbed at the same time. Only within the focal point of the laser beam the density of photons is high enough for that. Material outside the focal point is not affected by the laser. "That is how we can define with unprecedented accuracy, at which points the molecules are supposed to bond and create a solid scaffold", explains Ovsianikov.

Guiding the focus of the laser beam through the liquid, a solid structure is created, in which living cells are incorporated. The surplus molecules which are not polymerized are simply washed away afterwards. This way, a hydrogel structure can be built, similar to the extracellular matrix which surrounds our own cells in living tissue. Ideas from nature are imitated in the lab and used for technological applications. This approach, called 'bio-mimetics' plays an increasingly important role, especially in materials science. Aleksandr Ovsianikov is confident that in many cases, this technology will render animal testing unnecessary and yield much quicker and more significant results.

Turning Stem Cells into Tissue

Stem cell research is a particularly interesting field of application for the new technology. "It is known that stem cells can turn into different kinds of tissue, depending on their environment", says Aleksandr Ovsianikov. "On top of a hard surface, they tend to develop into bone cells, on a soft substrate they may turn into neurons." In the laser-generated 3D structure the rigidity of the substrate can be tuned so that different types of tissue can be created.

Lithuania, Germany, Austria

Interdisciplinary cooperation is crucial for this project, which connects engineering, material science, biology and chemistry. The possibility to work with experts in such a wide range of scientific fields at one single research facility was an important reason for Aleksandr Ovsianikov to come and work at the Vienna University of Technology. Born in Lithuania, Ovsianikov obtained his PhD in Hannover, Germany. Now he has been working at the Vienna University of Technology for two years.

Aleksandr Ovsianikov's project has now been awarded an ERC Starting Grant from the European Research Council. These grants aim to support up-and-coming researchers who have the proven potential of becoming independent research leaders. Within the next five years, Ovsianikov has the opportunity to establish his own research team and continue his quest to bring together materials science, physics and cell biology.


'/>"/>

Contact: Florian Aigner
florian.aigner@tuwien.ac.at
0043-158-801-41027
Vienna University of Technology
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Biologistics: How fast do chemical trains move in living cells?
2. Bats split on family living
3. Black piranha, megapiranha have most powerful bites of fish living or extinct, finds GW researcher
4. Long-distance solute transport in trees improved by intercellular pathways in living woody tissues
5. Ancient microbes found living beneath the icy surface of Antarctic lake
6. Soft Robotics: A groundbreaking new journal on engineered soft devices that Interact with Living Systems
7. Watching the cogwheels of the biological clock in living cells
8. Living power cables discovered
9. A new look at proteins in living cells
10. Force of nature: Defining the mechanical mechanisms in living cells
11. Penn researchers improve living tissues with 3-D printed vascular networks made from sugar
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Nanostructures with living cells
(Date:12/6/2016)... Securus Technologies, a leading provider of ... safety, investigation, corrections and monitoring, and the Prison ... (5) year funding commitment by Securus to PEP ... and reentry support to more inmates and their ... the Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP) is an independent ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... 30, 2016  higi SH llc (higi) announced ... targeting national brands, industry thought-leaders and celebrity influencers ... audiences for taking steps to live healthier, more ... 2012, higi has built the largest self-screening health ... million people who have conducted over 185 million ...
(Date:11/24/2016)... -- Cercacor today introduced Ember TM Sport Premium ... measure hemoglobin, Oxygen Content, Oxygen Saturation, Perfusion Index, ... approximately 30 seconds. Smaller than a smartphone, using only ... key data about their bodies to help monitor these ... Hemoglobin carries oxygen to muscles. When hemoglobin and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... 2016 , ... In anticipation of AxioMed’s exclusive cleanroom manufacturing ... President, Jake Lubinski will be traveling to Switzerland from December 5-10. Mr. Lubinski ... and Zurich to discuss the benefits of a viscoelastic disc. AxioMed received CE ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... Dec. 2, 2016  The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation ... MMRF CoMMpass Study SM —the largest and most comprehensive ... in multiple myeloma—will be presented at the 58 th ... Exposition in San Diego from ... treatment strategies, as well as identify pathways and targets ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ANGELES , Dec. 2, 2016 CytRx ... and development company specializing in oncology, today announced the ... noted sarcoma surgeon, industry consultant, and private healthcare investor, ... is a healthcare leader with clinical and strategic experience ... , CytRx,s Chairman and CEO. "As one of the ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 01, 2016 , ... ACEA Biosciences, Inc. announced today ... clinical trials for AC0010 at the World Conference on Lung Cancer 2016, taking place ... on the phase I/II clinical trials for AC0010 in patients with advanced non-small cell ...
Breaking Biology Technology: