Bottom-up tissue engineering

Donald L. Elbert

Recapitulating the elegant structures formed during development is an extreme synthetic and biological challenge. Great progress has been made in developing materials to support transplanted cells, yet the complexity of tissues is far beyond that found in even the most advanced scaffolds. Self-assembly is a motif used in development and a route for the production of complex materials. Self-assembly of peptides, proteins and other molecules at the nanoscale is promising, but in addition, intriguing ideas are emerging for self-assembly of micron-scale structures. In this brief review, very recent advances in the assembly of micron-scale cell aggregates and 3d cell culture microgels will be described and discussed.

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