Tissue engineering holds great promise for enabling alternative therapies for diseases such as diabetes, heart and liver failure. A common approach in tissue engineering is seeding cells in biodegradable scaffolds, which brings cells together in close proximity, aiming to mimic the native tissue environment. These scaffolds are expected to degrade and replaced by cellular growth and extracellular matrix deposition to generate a natural tissue. However, challenges remain with the current approaches, such as: 1) The inability to achieve a complex three- dimensional (3D) cellular architecture and organization (i.e. cardiac tissue is made of three major type of cells;i) cardiomyocytes ii) cardiofibroblasts, and iii) endothelial cells;2) The limited control over cell-cell proximity with microscale resolution;3) The inability to generate micro-engineered tissue constructs at high throughput with uniform cell distribution and high cell seeding density;4) The lack of vascularity which results in cell necrosis and loss of function limiting the biologically relevant engineered tissues (i.e. diffusion length of metabolites is, typically, smaller than 300 micron). We hypothesized that engineered nanofilms can be used to assemble microgels into 3D constructs which can be integrated in a fluidic device to increase assembly throughput. The goal of this project is to address these challenges by developing a Microscale Acoustic System of Nanocoatings (MASON). In this proposal, we will merge directional nanocoating (i.e. ratchets) for transport of microgels, acoustic micro electro- mechanical systems (MEMS), and microscale hydrogel (microgel) fabrication technologies to achieve microgel assembly with controlled cellular architecture. We propose to build complex structures of biodegradable microgels in a microfluidic device based on directed assembly. Thus, the proposed novel microgel assembly approach presents a promising direction towards synthetic tissue engineering which is applicable to multiple organ systems. We expect to show that this novel approach will be significantly more efficient in addressing the problems outlined above than existing microgel assembly technologies.

Public Health Relevance

The final outcome of the project will offer a broadly applicable, scalable and easy-to-use microscale assembly on a versatile microfluidic platform that has impact in tissue engineering. The platform will enable sophisticated tools and methods to create 3D tissue models that will target tissue/organ regeneration as well as pharmaceutical research and drug discovery studies.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Nanotechnology Study Section (NANO)
Program Officer
Lundberg, Martha
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Pennsylvania State University
Engineering (All Types)
Schools of Engineering
University Park
United States
Zip Code
Chen, Pu; Luo, Zhengyuan; Güven, Sinan et al. (2014) Microscale assembly directed by liquid-based template. Adv Mater 26:5936-41
Gurkan, Umut A; El Assal, Rami; Yildiz, Simin E et al. (2014) Engineering anisotropic biomimetic fibrocartilage microenvironment by bioprinting mesenchymal stem cells in nanoliter gel droplets. Mol Pharm 11:2151-9
Spedden, Elise; Wiens, Matthew R; Demirel, Melik C et al. (2014) Effects of surface asymmetry on neuronal growth. PLoS One 9:e106709
Tasoglu, S; Diller, E; Guven, S et al. (2014) Untethered micro-robotic coding of three-dimensional material composition. Nat Commun 5:3124
Tasoglu, S; Yu, C H; Gungordu, H I et al. (2014) Guided and magnetic self-assembly of tunable magnetoceptive gels. Nat Commun 5:4702
Asghar, Waseem; El Assal, Rami; Shafiee, Hadi et al. (2014) Preserving human cells for regenerative, reproductive, and transfusion medicine. Biotechnol J 9:895-903
Tasoglu, Savas; Gurkan, Umut Atakan; Wang, Shuqi et al. (2013) Manipulating biological agents and cells in micro-scale volumes for applications in medicine. Chem Soc Rev 42:5788-808
Tasoglu, Savas; Kavaz, Doga; Gurkan, Umut Atakan et al. (2013) Paramagnetic levitational assembly of hydrogels. Adv Mater 25:1137-43, 1081
Guerette, Paul A; Hoon, Shawn; Seow, Yiqi et al. (2013) Accelerating the design of biomimetic materials by integrating RNA-seq with proteomics and materials science. Nat Biotechnol 31:908-15
Gurkan, Umut Atakan; Fan, Yantao; Xu, Feng et al. (2013) Simple precision creation of digitally specified, spatially heterogeneous, engineered tissue architectures. Adv Mater 25:1192-8

Showing the most recent 10 out of 11 publications