Anisometric microgels to construct 3D responsive macroporous matrices to direct and mechanically trigger cells
3D macroporous, responsive constructs are created via anisometric microgel assembly to actuate cells. The internal structure (nanoporosity), mechanical properties, and photo-thermal or magnetic responsiveness of the microgel building blocks will be characterized and designed for 3D cell culture. The assembled rod- and complex-shaped microgel structures will support and guide cell growth by providing native-like environments. Depending on the network’s properties, microgels’ chemical composition, loaded nanoparticles, and swelling properties, cells will be actuated dynamically with spatial and temporal control by the network in response to external triggers, such as light and magnetic fields. The cellular response to these forces will be analyzed to unravel mechanobiology-related questions.