<figcaption> Credit: BILL CRAMER / WONDERFUL MACHINE INC.</figcaption>

In Jennifer Elisseeff's small tissue-culture room at Johns Hopkins University, she points to an eraser-sized pellet of two-layered hydrogel floating in culture medium. She explains how the cells, encapsulated within juxtaposed layers of gel, exchange signals to help them grow. Knowing what those signals are could help her design a hydrogel that would regenerate diseased tissue.

As a teenager working on a science fair project in her father's engineering lab at Florida Atlantic University, Elisseeff began to appreciate the cross-talk between biology and materials while studying the effects of bacteria on metal corrosion. After her first year of medical school in the Harvard/MIT Health Science and Technology program, Elisseeff found a way to apply her interest when she recognized a huge need in the field of orthopedic surgery. Bone and cartilage lack good natural repair mechanisms, and the surgical treatment for the damaged...

Interested in reading more?

Magaizne Cover

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?