Cell culture materials that are engineered at the molecular, nano and micro scale can be used to guide pathways associated with cell fate specification. In this presentation, I will discuss our efforts in designing surfaces for studying signaling in adherent mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). First I will show how soft lithography can be used to capture single stem cells in precise geometries to study how cell shape influences fate. MSCs cultured in small islands become quiescent and express elevated levels of multipotency markers; MSCs that are allowed to spread and proliferate express higher levels of osteogenesis markers. Using small molecule inhibitors of actomyosin contractility, we find that reduced cytoskeletal tension promotes maintenance of multipotency. Next I will demonstrate how cell geometry, matrix mechanics and ligand composition can be used together to maximize preferred differentiation outcomes. Cells that are cultured on polyacrylamide hydrogels express markers for both osteogenesis and myogenesis. By modulating the geometry of single MSCs on these hydrogel substrates we can preferentially direct specific differentiation outcomes. Finally, I will present our work using nanostructured porous silicon substrates to engineer the adhesion microenvironment for directing the fate of MSCs. Using these engineering approaches we can recapitulate aspects of the stem cell microenvironment to decipher the mechanochemical signals that direct cell fate
NanoBio Node, Obaid Sarvana
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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.
Professor Killian's Lab
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