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Patterns of creation

Patterns of creation

Image: Mesenchymal stem cells derived from adipose tissue can grow on nanoscale plastic surfaces.

Controlling the patterning on the surface of plastics may soon enable us to grow bone, fight infections and reproduce stem cells, thanks to ARC-funded research at Swinburne University of Technology.

Variations in the nanoscale structures on the surface of a material can alter the development of cells in the vicinity according to the work of Swinburne’s Polymer NanoInterface Engineering Group. It opens potential for making minute changes to the plastic surface of cell cultures and medical devices in order to control how cells behave both inside and outside the body.

“Depending on the type of pattern and the type of cell, you get different responses. This means you have a starting point for controlling the cell pathway,” said Professor Peter Kingshott.

Through their research, Professor Kingshott’s team developed a new method to create patterns at the nanoscale, as existing methods were expensive and time-consuming, limiting their industrial application.

In collaboration with the CSIRO’s manufacturing unit, Professor Kingshott’s group worked on a technique based on the patterns left by crystal particles as a solution evaporates. Their method can be carried out in any laboratory, takes a few hours, rather than months, and is scalable to a practical size.

The team also recently collaborated with the Stem Cells Australia network to develop a new, relatively cheap and time-efficient method to regress mature cells to stem cell form.


Media issued by Swinburne University of Technology.

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