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Mimicking, naturally.

The investigation of cell function can open a window into biomolecular systems, allowing researchers to better understand the mechanics of life and the key processes that maintain it. Protein gradients play an important part in directing cell behavior in biological systems; for example, gradients of proteins termed morphogens govern the development of tissue, ensuring that the various specialized cells present within a tissue structure are positioned properly. Microfluidic systems have been widely used to model these cell processes in the lab; however, until now the materials most commonly used have not fully replicated the cellular microenvironment. New work from Professor Matthias Lutolf's team at EPFL Lausanne seeks to change this; the group has developed hydrogel surfaces capable of both immobilizing the protein gradients studied and mimicking the cellular environment. Standard lithography techniques are used to fabricate this hydrogel system, and it could be tuned to work with a wide range of proteins through a simple bioconjugation strategy.

M. Lutolf et al., Adv. Funct. Mater. DOI: 10.1002/adfm.200900968
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Title Annotation:Materials Views
Author:Miller, Adrian
Publication:Plastics Engineering
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2010
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