University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Materials Chemistry Research Interest Group > Organic Electronics for Monitoring and Hosting of 3D Cell Biology Models

Organic Electronics for Monitoring and Hosting of 3D Cell Biology Models

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The importance of studying biological systems in 3D as opposed to 2D is now clear. The difficulty lies with standard biological techniques and assays which are unable to adapt to 3D formats. Polymeric electroactive materials and devices can bridge the gap between hard inflexible materials used for physical transducers and soft, compliant biological tissues. They also have the advantage that they can be used in conformable or even 3D formats which can allow integration with complex cell constructs or tissues.

In this presentation I will discuss our recent progress in adapting conducting polymer devices, including simple electrodes and transistors (specifically the organic electrochemical transistor), to integrate with 3D cell models. We show electrical impedance monitoring of spheroids captured in microfluidic traps, hitherto impossible with traditional electrical techniques.

We go further, by generating 3D electroactive scaffolds capable of hosting and monitoring cells. Alongside the monitoring we attempt to add to the repertoire of tissue engineers by integrating electrical cues alongside the biochemical and mechanical cues. Electrical cues have a demonstrated role in development, not just for electrogenic tissues, but for all tissues. To enable the trifecta of stimuli necessary for recreating tissues in vitro, we have generated conducting polymer scaffolds blended with biopolymers such as collagen. I will show evidence that these structures can simultaneously monitor tissue formation, but also contribute to the differentiation of specific tissue types.

This talk is part of the Materials Chemistry Research Interest Group series.

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