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Geometry alone influences stem cell differentiation in a precision 3D printed stem cell niche

Prina, Elisabetta; Sidney, Laura; Tromayer, Maximilian; Moore, Jonathan; Liska, Robert; Bertolin, Marina; Ferrari, Stefano; Hopkinson, Andrew; Dua, Harminder; Yang, Jing; Wildman, Ricky; Rose, Felicity RAJ


Elisabetta Prina

Maximilian Tromayer

Robert Liska

Marina Bertolin

Stefano Ferrari

Andrew Hopkinson

Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

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Assistant Professor

Professor of Multiphase Flow and Mechanics

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Professor of Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering


Stem cells within epithelial tissues reside in anatomical structures known as crypts that are known to contribute to the mechanical and chemical milieu important for function. To date, epithelial stem cell therapies have largely ignored the niche and focussed solely on the cell population to be transplanted. Our aim was to recreate the precise geometry of the epithelial stem cell niche using two photon polymerisation and to determine the influence of this structure alone on stem cell phenotype. We were able to recreate crypt structures and following cell seeding, a zonation in cell phenotype along the z-axis emerged. This illustrates that geometry alone, without the use of exogenous signalling molecules, influences cell response. Understanding the role of geometry in the regulation of the stem cell niche will enable significant advances in our ability to influence stem cell behaviour to expedite cellular therapies to the clinic.


Prina, E., Sidney, L., Tromayer, M., Moore, J., Liska, R., Bertolin, M., …Rose, F. R. Geometry alone influences stem cell differentiation in a precision 3D printed stem cell niche

Deposit Date Jun 7, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jan 6, 2021
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Additional Information bioRXiv


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