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Title:A 3D Muscle-ECM Construct to Power a Biological Actuator
Author(s):Cvetkovic, Caroline
Contributor(s):Raman, Ritu
Abstract:Our research focuses on the use of skeletal muscle as a power source for soft robotic biological machines. A supportive extracellular matrix (ECM) environment is important for the maturation and maintenance of many cells and tissues, including muscle. Here, we embed skeletal muscle myoblasts (precursor cells) in a solution of ECM proteins such as collagen and fibrin, allowing them to grow and differentiate in a physiologically relevant 3D environment, to create a biological machine that actuates upon muscle contraction and responds to various external stimuli. Immuno-fluorescent staining offers a simple and visually appealing method to verify the presence of certain cellular components or proteins in a biological sample. The top-left image demonstrates a region of the muscle, which shows sarcomeric myosin (a motor protein involved in muscle contraction) in green, channelrhodopsin-2 (a membraneion channel that opens and allows for cell contraction in response to blue light) in red, and cell nuclei in blue. The colors of the remaining images have been inverted or altered for aesthetic appeal, with the relevant sub-cellular localization remaining visible. The result is an art form that is appealing to scholars of all backgrounds while still conveying important biological information.
Issue Date:2014-05
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 Caroline Cvetkovic
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-05-14

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