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Liquid crystals show promise in controlling embryonic stem cells

k, is to just look at the cells and use cell morphology as a cue. A more accurate method uses molecular markers. Antibodies are placed against these markers to determine if they bind to the cell. That system, while more accurate, does not provide real time data and cells often have to be killed in order to analyze the markers.

"This newly devised cell culture system enables a new paradigm in stem cell research," says chemical and biological engineer and MRSEC Director Juan de Pablo. "Ultimately, we hope to use liquid crystalline materials to transmit desired sets of physical and chemical cues to stem cells so as to control their differentiation, as well as report back specific responses of the cells or tissue.

"This research is also significant as an example of our unique effort to integrate advanced materials engineering and embryonic stem cell research, an effort that will help accelerate the rate at which the benefits of stem-cell based therapies are brought to society," de Pablo adds.


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Source:University of Wisconsin-Madison


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