Stem cells hold the promise of producing functional tissues which can replace those lost due to disease or injury. New organ tissues, such as those found in the heart, liver, or nervous system, can be created from pluripotent stem cells through the process of differentiation. Additionally, pluripotent stem cells can produce an unlimited supply of new stem cells in a process called "self-renewal". In culture, pluripotent stem cells form isolated colonies, and the geometry of these colonies can have a profound impact on their capacity for differentiation. Current culture techniques provide no control over colony geometry. We are developing a simple technique for controlling the size, shape, density, and distribution of stem cell colonies which is compatible with conventional tissue culture plates. We show that this method substantially improves stem cell uniformity, and we are evaluating its ability to improve differentiation yield.
Project end date: 08/01/06