1178A, Benedum Hall
Stem cells receive both chemical and mechanical cues to help drive differentiation. The investigation into the biophysical communication between embryonic stem cells and their immediate microenvironment cues will allow us to tailor materials to maximize the response of ESCs towards a desired end cell phenotype. Specifically we are investigating if mechanical stimuli can be one of many factors to facilitate differentiation of hESCs towards mature insulin producing cell for the treatment of diabetes. Beyond just mechanical stimulation, we are also investigating whether specific organic or inorganic materials have a biophysical effect on downstream ESC lineage fate, which may be used as part of a larger multi-faceted differentiation approach. Additionally, we are determining a quantitative method to track cytoskeleton development during ESC differentiation and the possible downstream implications on mature cellular function.