Student Profile

Mike Taylor

Hydrogel micro arrays for recapitulation of the stem cell niche.

PhD Supervisor(s):  Prof Morgan Alexander, Dr Mischa Zelzer, Dr Lee Buttery and Dr Matthias Lutolf.


PhD Summary

The design of materials to direct stem-cell fate is essential to advance stem-cell-based clinical approaches to tissue regeneration.1 Existing synthetic materials, approved for use in man, do not provide the necessary stem cell niche required to maintain pluripotency before use and subsequently to guide differentiation to meet the many challenges posed by regenerative medicine. Hydrogels, water containing polymer with tuneable mechanical and chemical properties, are used routinely to support cells and for fundamental study of cell-biomaterial interactions. A great experimental advance was recently made to allow discovery of new synthetic materials combined with biomolecules when Lutolf et al. fabricated hydrogel micro well arrays. These allow thousands of potential stem cell niche’s to be investigated on a single glass slide.2 This project will be a collaboration with Mathias Lutolf at EPFL, Lausanne.

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