The purpose of this project was to develop a device and method for micro-patterning cells on an ECM-mimicking substrate that would allow the study of cell-cell and cell-ECM interaction. Polyacrylamide (PAA) hydrogel was identified as an appropriate substrate for stiffness manipulation as well as for cell seeding. PDMS stamps were designed and created to act as the micro-patterning device. Using the designed PDMS device, collagen patterns were patterned on PAA hydrogels of different stiffnesses onto which NIH/3T3 cells were seeded. We demonstrate that our device is a useful tool in patterning cell populations of sizes ranging from as few as 5 cells to 200 cells on single PAA hydrogel of specific stiffness to study the effect of ECM stiffness on behavior of different sized cell populations.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Major Qualifying Project
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