Hydrogels for functional 3D structures
We aim to find materials to recreate the physical and biochemical 3D microenvironment in which cells grow. By mimicking in vivo like cell surroundings providing suitable mechanical properties, adhesion cues and mitogens we plan to study cellular differentiation and migration to better understand the early stages of neural development.
Hydrogels have proven to be a good candidate to create cell scaffords due to their similarities to the natural extra cellular matrix (ECM). The hydrogel serves to create a 3D environment for the cells to attach to and grow in as wells as to interact with each other. One of the major components of the EMS is hyaluronic acid (HA), a large unbranched non-sulphated glycosaminoglycan (GAG) which can organize itself to form complex structures of different size and shape. By using hydrogels composed by the conventional polyethylene glycol (PEG) mixed with HA we evaluate new models for growing neuro epithelial stem cells by creating gradients of peptides in the gel to control cell fate and migration.