Young-sup Yoon (Emory)
Harry Asada (MIT),
The goal of this Working Group is to design and construct functional endothelial cell-muscle complexes for use in the next generation of biological machines. This group was formed in early 2012 and then merged with the Contractile Muscle Strip group in late 2013. The group initially focused on generating endothelial cells and muscle cells from embryonic stem (ES) and induced pluripotent cells and particularly on optimizing the protocols to differentiate into the target cells. In addition, through interactions with the Microvascular Network Meeting Group, endothelial network formation is investigated using microfluidic devices using ECs and pericytes or smooth muscle cells (SMCs). Work is also underway on developing optimal biomaterials for use in these studies that presents the required environmental and mechanical cues facilitating the survival and function of these complexes. Methods are currently being developed to model formation of and interaction between multiple cell types.
An additional aim of the merged meeting is to develop a functional muscle strip that will meet the needs of the machines to provide locomotion or valve regulation. The group is working to produce methods to differentiate stem cells to cardiac and skeletal muscle from several stem cell sources with a high efficiency. Additionally, 3D environments are being produced to support myocyte survival and function.
Emergent behaviors are expected through various EC-muscle-scaffold complexes that arise under different biochemical and biophysical stimuli and the interactions between multiple cell types. The working group is also interested in studying emergent behaviors to better understand the mechanism of how myoblasts are aligned, adhere to each other, and form multinuclear myotubes. We are also concerned with how these differentiated cells become functional mature muscle tissue as a result of cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions, as well as interactions with neuron and endothelial cells.