UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI
The proposed research designs new biomaterials to guide the long-range directional migration of attached mammalian cells in three dimensions. Like one-way signs, the patterned microarrays and/or microchannels impose directionality on cell movement and simultaneously guide the migration of cells over tailored paths. The intellectual merit of this project is the development of biomaterials capable of guiding cell movement in three dimensions using asymmetric microchannel networks. To overcome the two dimensional nature of micropatterns, investigations of a topographic implementation utilizing continuous channels to guide cell migration and direct cell assembly are proposed. Design guidelines will be established for maximizing migration speeds while maintaining directionality in microchannels to set the foundation for a next generation of biomaterials capable of directing cell migration along three-dimensional complex paths.The broader impact of this project includes training undergraduate and graduate students in biology, biophysics of cell motility, microfabrication techniques, and polymer/biomaterial synthesis. As a woman, the PI has and will continue to make special efforts to recruit women and other under-represented groups to pursue advanced studies in science and participate in undergraduate research that sparks creativity. The proposed research itself promises broad impact of new biomaterials capable of assembling multiple cell types for fundamental biological studies, wound healing, or tissue engineering applications.