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  Abbott Research Group - UW Chemical and Biological Engineering

Laboratory for Molecular Engineering
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering

Aqueous - Liquid Crystal Interfaces

Identified biocompatible liquid crystals (Liquid Crystals, 2004), and demonstrated the culture of living mammalian cells on the surfaces of synthetic liquid crystals for over 2 weeks. These studies revealed the ordering of the liquid crystals to be coupled to the organization of the extracellular matrix on which the cells were seeded. Remodeling of the extracellular matrix by the cells was reported as an ordering transition in the liquid crystal (Adv. Funct. Mat. 2006). These results suggest new principles for the design of optically responsive materials that can transduce biochemical and mechanical interactions of cells.

Imaging the Reorganization of Matrigel by Human Embryonic Stem Cells Using Liquid CrystalsTop) Schematic illustration of the experimental setup used to create planar interfaces between aqueous phases and immiscible thermotropic liquid crystals. Note that the thicknesses of the slide, grid, and Matrigel film are not shown to scale.

Bottom) Phase-contrast (A), polarized (B), and fluorescence (C) images of hESCs seeded on a Matrigel-coated TL205 substrate imaged after 1 day. The Matrigel was labeled with Alexa Fluor 430. Scale bars are 100 μm for all images.