Biopolymer in Bloom: A New Environment for Studying Cell Growth


This image, submitted by Julio D'Arcy of the Hammond Laboratory at the Koch Institute, shows a biocompatible scaffold for measuring cell growth in real time.


Julio D’Arcy, Erik Dreaden, Paula Hammond
Hammond Laboratory
MIT Koch Institute

Measuring cancer cells’ real-time response to external influences can be challenging. Here, engineers have created biocompatible plastic structures onto which cells can adhere and develop as they would inside the body. The electrically conductive nature of the scaffolds allows researchers to measure the properties of the growing cells. By changing the environment or introducing new substances into the system, researchers can figure out which factors promote or discourage cell growth. This image, taken with a scanning electron microscope, shows the micro- and nano-scale structures of this device.