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The Chimera of Flesh and Machine

stock here, what could possibly go wrong? Flying too close to the sun?


The development of three-dimensional (3D) synthetic biomaterials as structural and bioactive scaffolds is central to fields ranging from cellular biophysics to regenerative medicine. As of yet, these scaffolds cannot electrically probe the physicochemical and biological micro-environments throughout their 3D and macroporous interior, although this capability could have a marked impact in both electronics and biomaterials. Here, we address this challenge using macroporous, flexible and free-standing nanowire nanoelectronic scaffolds (nanoES), and their hybrids with synthetic or natural biomaterials. 3D macroporous nanoES mimic the structure of natural tissue scaffolds, and they were formed by self-organization of coplanar reticular networks with built-in strain and by manipulation of 2D mesh matrices. NanoES exhibited robust electronic properties and have been used alone or combined with other biomaterials as biocompatible extracellular scaffolds for 3D culture of neurons, cardiomyocytes and smooth muscle cells. Additionally, we show the integrated sensory capability of the nanoES by real-time monitoring of (i) the local electrical activity within 3D nanoES/cardiomyocyte constructs, (ii) the response of 3D nanoES based neural and cardiac tissue models to drugs, and (iii) distinct pH changes inside and outside tubular vascular smooth muscle constructs.

The design and functionalization of porous materials has been actively pursued to enable new material properties and applications13. In particular, the development of synthetic 3D macroporous biomaterials as extracellular matrices (ECMs) represents a key area because (i) functionalized 3D biomaterials allow for studies of cell/tissue development in the presence of spatiotemporal biochemical stimulants

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