"This model will be helpful in figuring out the kind of geometry to grow artificial tissues in, such that they will redistribute the stress from these factors so they are stable," Shenoy said. "A honeycomb, for example, can be stable and have the advantage of having channels where you can diffuse nutrients to all the cells, like a circulatory system. Our model would help you figure out the ideal spacing and diameters for the holes."
This new level of understanding could also be applied to morphogenesis, the stage of embryonic development in which cells start differentiating into different body parts. In morphogenesis, formerly uniform masses of cells start generating highly localized differences, including in the amount of strain the cells in those locations put on one another. By understanding these cues, tissue engineers could better predict, or even manipulate, what types of tissues those undifferentiated cells will transform into.
|Contact: Evan Lerner|
University of Pennsylvania