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
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.