Controlling cell microenvironment: engineering artificial niches to study muscle degeneration-regeneration in vitro.
It is well known that extracellular stimuli from the microenvironment are crucial for cell adhesion, migration, proliferation and differentiation, and the ECM constitutes the very foundation of tissue homeostasis and development (Seliktar, 2012). Despite this, the analysis of such cells/ECM interplays in vivo is hampered by the intrinsic complexity of the native environment.
ESR8 will engineer bioactive materials and devices (Iannone et al., 2015) that can recapitulate in a simplified but consistent form the role of the biophysical/biochemical signals in muscle regeneration/degeneration. ESR8 will carry on a preliminary screen of the most relevant biochemical (adhesion motifs) or biophysical (mechanical or topographic) signaling patterns to define the optimal set of stimuli for the in vitro myoblast culture.
Artificially made scaffolds displaying adequate mechanical and biochemical features will be then fabricated by employing synthetic or hybrid materials. The micro- nano-scale architecture of these scaffolds will be controlled by state-of-the-art technologies (nano and microfabrication, or a combination of these). The effectiveness of signals along with their spatio-temporal presentation will be tested and validated.
ESR8 will reproduce in vitro the basal lamina niche of skeletal, muscle or blood vessel or a collagen sclerotic environment and will challenge different progenitors’ fate under these condition.
To engineer bioactive materials and devices that can recapitulate the role of the extracellular matrix in muscle degeneration-regeneration (with ESR5)
To engineer bioactive materials for protein and factor delivery
Enrolment in Doctoral degree
PhD Programme in “Industrial product and process engineering” University of Naples “Federico II”.
Iannone, M., Ventre, M., Formisano, L., Casalino, L., Patriarca, E.J., and Netti, P.A. (2015). Nanoengineered surfaces for focal adhesion guidance trigger mesenchymal stem cell self-organization and tenogenesis. Nano Lett 15, 1517-1525.
Seliktar, D. (2012). Designing cell-compatible hydrogels for biomedical applications. Science (New York, NY) 336, 1124-1128.