Joan Brugge, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, Mass.

Investigating morphogenesis of 3-D structures such as luminal epithelial tissue

Cells may behave differently depending on which lot of reconstituted basement membrane extract (BME) they're grown on. Because BME is a natural product - most types, such as BD's Matrigel, are made from extracts of mouse sarcomas - it's difficult to get uniform, consistent preparations, even from the same manufacturer.

BME provides Brugge's cells with developmental cues that they're accustomed to seeing in vivo, but different preparations send different cues. "We routinely have to screen the BME to find a lot that actually behaves uniformly relative to those that we've used in the past," Brugge notes.

When Brugge's lab is running low, she requests samples that are within certain...

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