Ultrasound (high-frequency pressure waves) can be used to remotely interact with cells, biomaterials, and tissues. A major focus of our research is the development of new ultrasound-based technologies for driving the assembly of biomaterials and engineered tissues. In particular, we are using ultrasound fields to remotely pattern cell populations for tissue engineering, and provide an on-demand trigger for enzyme catalysis and hydrogelation. This includes:
Ultrasound-triggered Enzyme Catalysis and Enzymatic Hydrogelation
This study was led by Dr Valeria Nele during her PhD at Imperial College. We used ultrasound to controllably permeabilize calcium-loaded liposomes, releasing the ion cargo to activate an enzyme (transglutaminase) and catalyze the gelation of fibrinogen (link: Advanced Materials 2020). This is linked to my research activity in biomaterials & bioimaging.
Acoustic Cell Patterning for Musculoskeletal Tissue Engineering
We used ultrasound standing waves to remotely pattern cells for tissue engineering. This includes the patterning of skeletal myoblasts into collagen-based hydrogels, which were then used to engineer muscle tissue with aligned bundles of myotubes and anisotropic tensile properties (link: Advanced Materials 2018). This is linked to my research activity in tissue engineering.
Quantifying Acoustic Cell Patterning using Voronoi Tessellation
We developed a new analytical framework for the quantitative optimization of experimental parameters that affect ultrasound-based cell patterning, such as frequency, amplitude, and material viscosity. We also used this method to track the migration kinetics of acoustically-patterned cells (link: Lab on a Chip 2019).