Our wonderful collaborators in the Kaplan Group in the Biomedical Engineering Department at Tufts have just published a new paper which our group PI Tim Atherton is a co-author on. The work presents the work of graduate student Amy Hopkins et al. who has been looking at new soft materials—hydrogels made with Silk—as a platform to grow neurons on. These materials are attractive because they mimic the softness of biological tissue, and so can be used to engineer artificial neural tissue. Our group has helped by developing a new quantitative technique to characterize the growth shape of the neuronal processes, leveraging ideas from Liquid Crystal Physics to do so. Our friends in Cristian Staii’s lab were also involved in the project, characterizing the stiffness of the material with their Atomic Force Microscope.
You can read the paper at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/adfm.201300435/abstract
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