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Title:Guiding the Nature Within You
Author(s):Li, Yanfen
Abstract:Within all of us are millions of cells which organize together into tissues and organs in order to send signals, perform functions, and store energy. Amazingly, these cells coordinate together perfectly to emerge into one functional being, YOU. However, why are cells and organs the shape that they are? Does their shape aid them in communicating with each other and in synchronizing their actions? My research is to study this relationship between geometry and cellular function. We employ different engineering approaches in order to manipulate the cells environment and guide their function. Pictured here are mouse embryonic fibroblasts which have been confined to a star shape. The cells respond to their new environment by organizing their cytoskeletal structures and changing their gene expression. This small guidance is enough to aid neurons to form predetermined pathways and to influence stem cells toward different lineages. By studying the effect of geometry on cells we can not only begin to understand the reasons behind the many natural geometric shapes inside of us but also to guide cell function toward clinical applications.
Issue Date:2016-04
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Yanfen Li
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-04-14

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