One of the most enduring paradigms in tissue engineering (the growth of artificial organs, graft tissues, etc.) is that the materials we use should be made to look more like the environment that cells normally experience. By contrast, I am working on a new type of structure designed to appear, to a cell, to be another cell. By using microfabrication methods and kidney cells, I am producing a library of different shapes, all of which are identified as 'cell' by actual cells. While esoteric, the ability to appear as a cell would encourage a number of new approaches to tissue engineering that would offer much better control than the current paradigm.
Project end date: 08/16/12