[Illinois] Bioengineering Seminar Series: The Role of Cell Geometry and Adhesion Ligand Presentation in Guiding Stem Cell Differentiation

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"Substrates that are designed to mimic the extracellular matrix are useful tools for studying cellular processes. Recently, we showed how micropatterning single mesenchymal stem cells can be used to reveal geometric cues that guide lineage specification. Shapes that promote a contractile cytoskeleton promote osteogenesis while shapes that promote a less organized cytoskeleton promote adipogenesis. In a separate study we found that the density and affinity of an immobilized cell adhesion ligand influences lineage specification. Surfaces presenting the high affinity cyclic-RGD peptide guide MSCs to express elevated levels of osteogenic markers. In contrast, surfaces presenting the lower affinity linear-RGD peptide promote expression of markers associated with myogenesis at high density and neurogenesis at low density of ligand. In both of these studies, the control of integrin-mediated adhesion and actomyosin contractility were found to guide specific differentiation programs. In this talk, I will present our efforts in the design of model systems that vary physical and biochemical cues independently and together. These studies reveal a picture of the microenvironment where cell geometry, matrix mechanics, adhesion ligand presentation and paracrine signaling play a complementary role in guiding stem cell differentiation."


Professor Kristopher Kilian received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Chemistry from the University of Washington in 1999 and 2003 respectively. He worked at Rosetta Inpharmatics/Merck & Co. in the Methods Development group from 2000-2004 before travelling to Sydney, Australia to do his PhD with Justin Gooding at the University of New South Wales. His doctoral research involved the development of nanostructured porous-silicon based photonic crystals and their chemical modification for optical biosensors and biomaterials. In 2007, he joined the laboratory of Milan Mrksich at the University of Chicago as a NIH postdoctoral fellow to investigate new methods for directing the differentiation of stem cells. Kris joined the faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering in 2011. -From Professor Killian's Faculty Profile

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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Kristopher A. Kilian (2012), "[Illinois] Bioengineering Seminar Series: The Role of Cell Geometry and Adhesion Ligand Presentation in Guiding Stem Cell Differentiation," http://nanohub.org/resources/15989.

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