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Complementary, Semi-automated Methods for Creating Multi-dimensional, PEG-based Biomaterials

Abstract
Tunable biomaterials that mimic selected features of the extracellular matrix (ECM), such as its stiffness, protein composition, and dimensionality, are increasingly popular for studying how cells sense and respond to ECM cues. In the field, there exists a significant trade-off for how complex and how well these biomaterials represent the in vivo microenvironment, versus how easy they are to make and how adaptable they are to automated fabrication techniques. To address this need to integrate more complex biomaterials design with high-throughput screening approaches, we present several methods to fabricate synthetic biomaterials in 96-well plates and demonstrate that they can be adapted to semiautomated liquid handling robotics. These platforms include 1) glass bottom plates with covalently attached ECM proteins, and 2) hydrogels with tunable stiffness and protein composition with either cells seeded on the surface, or 3) laden within the three-dimensional hydrogel matrix. This study includes proof-of-concept results demonstrating control over breast cancer cell line phenotypes via these ECM cues in a semi-automated fashion. We foresee the use of these methods as a mechanism to bridge the gap between high-throughput cell-matrix screening and engineered ECM-mimicking biomaterials.
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article
article
Date
2018-01-01
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UMass Amherst Open Access Policy
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