Helena Zec

Whitaker International Fellow, 2007-08

Home Institution: Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Host Country, Institution: Switzerland, ETH Zurich

Project Title: Microfluidic Fabrication Method for Hydrogels Containing a Gradient of Cell Guidance Cues

Project Abstract:

The focus of this research project will be on guidance of nerve and endothelial cells based on the observations that the cardiovascular and nervous systems cross-talk. Specifically, we would like to study the roles of guidance cues of the nervous system, namely the sixth Ig-like domain of cell adhesion molecule L1 in angiogenesis and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF-121) to guide neurite extension. An important component of this project would be the design of a new fabrication method for fibrin-based hydrogels that contain a gradient of cell guidance cues such as L1Ig6 or VEGF. We believe that microfluidics can be applied to offer a simpler and reliable alternative to these gradient mixers.

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