3D-assembly of interactive microgels to grow in vitro vascularized, structured, and beating human cardiac tissues in high-throughput

The goal of the project is to use interactive, microscopic rod-shaped polymer networks - so-called microgels - to produce 3D constructs in a high-throughput process for growing human heart tissue on a millimeter scale. Spatially controllable arrangement and movement of the microgels will be used to create macroporous scaffolds capable of orienting cells and improving cell-cell interactions.

In the first step of the project, different types of microgels will be automatically assembled, magnetically aligned and chemically linked in the presence of induced pluripotent stem cells. This will both spatially distribute and spread out the stem cells and organize them before differentiating them into cardiac cells. The 3D construct is then stimulated with light to mimic the heartbeat and improve the functionality of the growing tissue.

The second step is to grow blood vessels into the tissue to supply the growing mini heart tissue with nutrients and oxygen. To make this possible, some of the microgels are designed to be degraded as needed to make enough room for growing blood vessels.

The project will help elucidate how material properties, architectures, and external stimulus-driven movement of the microgels affect the formation and vascularization of human cardiac tissue and how the construct must adapt over time to the growing tissue to create the proper extracellular environment.

Member of the Scientific Board

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Laura De Laporte

+49 241 80-23309
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