Image of the Day: Shrink Ray

A near-infrared laser warps a tissue culture surface to mimic natural cellular environments.

Jef Akst
Jef Akst

Jef Akst is managing editor of The Scientist, where she started as an intern in 2009 after receiving a master’s degree from Indiana University in April 2009 studying the mating behavior of seahorses.

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Oct 30, 2018
Grooves (blue) and other patterns emerge on a hydrogel pad without disturbing living cells, such as this immortalized mouse embryonic fibroblast cell (red).
DEREK S. HERNANDEZ AND JASON B. SHEAR, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN

Focusing a laser on points within a hydrogel pad, a team at the University of Texas at Austin can change the shape and texture of the pad’s surface, according to a study published online this month (October 15) in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. This creates an adjustable and potentially dynamic environment in which to culture cells—closer to the experience of cells during various biological events, from development to wound healing and nerve regrowth.

D.S. Hernandez et al., “In situ imprinting of topographic landscapes at the cell–substrate interface,” J Am Chem Soc, doi:10.1021/jacs.8b09226, 2018.

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