UC Berkeley researchers have created a new technique that can rapidly “print” two-dimensional arrays of cells and proteins that mimic a wide variety of cellular environments in the body. The technique could help scientists better understand the complex cell-to-cell messaging that dictates a cell’s final fate.
David Schaffer, a faculty scientist in Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging (MBIB), as well as a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at UC Berkeley, is co-senior author with Lydia Sohn, professor of mechanical engineering and bio-engineering at UCB, on the paper describing the work published in Science Advances.
The new technique takes advantage of a patterning process called photolithography, which works by exposing a coated surface or substrate to a pattern of light, which initiates a chemical reaction that dissolves the coating in the illuminated areas, leaving a templated substrate. It can be used to attach, or print, intricate patterns of up to 10 different kinds cells or proteins onto a flat surface in one quick batch, greatly speeding up the process.
To demonstrate one of the many applications of the technique, the researchers used the platform to study the chemical signaling that cues neural stem cells to differentiate into mature cells.
Read more from the UC Berkeley News Center.