Cell Surfaces

images of cells

Dr. Bruce Dunn designs materials and components that make the growth of pluripotent stem cells more efficient for basic research as well as scalable to meet requirements for future clinical applications such as the development of animal free FDA compliant biological drugs. Partnerships between engineers and biologists lead to important biological questions such as how the size and shape of clusters or “colonies” of pluripotent stem cells affect cell behavior and differentiation. Dr. Dunn’s research involves designing well-defined synthetic surfaces for the culture of cells using surface chemical methods based on the formation of self-assembled monolayers (SAM) that more closely mimic the conditions to which stem cells are exposed in humans. SAM materials possess chemical groups that can act as anchorage points for attaching important biomolecules or cell signaling factors to the cell culture surface. His team has begun to apply lithographic techniques that were originally developed for the semiconductor industry to create patterned surfaces comprised of multiple SAMs in order to tailor the cell culture interface to the specific needs of stem cell investigators.