NOV 17, 2016 1:58 PM PST

Building Artificial Tissues, Tetris-Style

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

Demonstrated in the video below, scientists have created a way to build artificial cells that could lead to the development of synthetic organs and tissues. In between of layers of electrodes, special liquids that react with heat, chemicals or light can be moved around and manipulated by an electric field. Those liquids can also form gels that are capable of holding things in suspension. Electricity can be utilized to push and pull those liquids around.

Research that required techniques for building tissues and organs have relied on totally artificial tissues - organs-on-a-chip - to this point. Tedious assembly of gel bricks holding cells was the old, and problematic, method.

This new technique allows for electricity to control the movement of the cells so they can be arranged in a way that mimics the architecture of tissues; all types of materials can thus be used to create them. Tiny but complex machines can also be built with this system, which resembles Tetris in a way. The researchers have already used this tool to make a tissue with cells that beat in time, like a heart.
About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
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