Student Profile

Anne Canning

Cell responsive interfaces for dynamic stem cell niches.

PhD Supervisor(s): Mischa Zelzer; Lee Buttery; Jon Aylott.


PhD Summary

In the body, stem cells grow in microenvironments (niches) with tightly controlled conditions. Stem cell therapies rely on the stringent control of the cellular environment in vitro to recreate such niches and direct stem cell fate. Surface properties can stimulate either stem cell proliferation or differentiation. As both aspects are crucial, combining them on a single, dynamic surface that changes properties on demand is attractive. Enzyme responsive surfaces represent ideal tools to realise this technology. We have previously shown that mesenchymal stem cells are able to dephosphorylate peptide surfaces using cell secreted alkaline phosphatase; however, direct measurement of the surface change was not possible. To be able to develop proper response mechanisms, it is essential to study and understand the dynamics of cell interactions with responsive surfaces. To do this, non-invasive, real time measurements of the material response to the cell is required; a method that can ultimately be used for in vivo measurements.

← View all student profiles