Northwestern University

Thu 4:00 PM

BME Seminar: Randolph Ashton: "Towards Engineering CNS Tissue Morphogenesis"

When: Thursday, January 17, 2013
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM  

Where: Technological Institute, LR2, 2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public

Contact: Suzanne A Olds   847.467.2369

Group: McCormick - Biomedical Engineering Department

Category: Academic

More Info


Randolph Ashton, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering
University of Wisconsin

Thursday, January 17th, 2013
Tech LR2
4:00 – 5:00 PM

Reception to follow outside of LR2

"Towards Engineering CNS Tissue Morphogenesis"

In vivo, CNS morphogenesis initiates with neurulation to generate the neural tube prior to radial expansion and constitution of mature CNS tissues. In vitro, neurally differentiating hPSCs recapitulate this intermediate morphological state by spontaneously organizing into neuroepithelial rosettes structures prior to terminal differentiation. Moreover, the extent of their innate self-organizing capabilities have also been demonstrated by their spontaneous generation of structured layered cortical, stratified retinal, and optic cup tissues in three-dimensional aggregate cultures. Thus, with an in depth understanding of how microenvironmental cues regulate this morphogenic process, it is plausible that the self-organizing properties of neuroepithelial cells could be harnessed to controllably engineer any CNS tissue in vitro.
To being acquiring such understanding, it would be advantageous to use fully defined culture protocols and culture surfaces that provide spatiotemporal control of their biochemical composition, and thus the morphology of overlying cell cultures. Current hPSC protocols for deriving neuroepithelial cells use either ill-defined aggregate culture or small molecule-mediated differentiation on Matrigel-coated substrates. In this talk, I will present the first fully defined protocol for highly efficient derivation of neuroepithelial cells using adherent culture that requires no small molecules or growth factors. Additionally, I will discuss our progress in engineering defined, modular surfaces that provide in situ spatiotemporal control over the morphology of differentiating hPSC cultures using robotic micro-contact printing (R-μCP) and without UV light. Together, the defined protocol and culture surfaces will provide superb control over the culture microenvironment, and facilitate elucidation of the microenvironmental cues that regulate CNS tissue morphogenesis.

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