Using magnetic force to colonize fibrillar scaffolds with stem/progenitor cells

A problem presented at the US Bio PSW Ohio MBI 2012.


Presented by:
Prof Nicanor Moldovan (Internal Medicine, Ohio State University)
S Bohun, H Byrne, G Ledder, NI Moldovan, D Moulton, J Newby, R Shipley, J Ward

Problem Description

Tissue engineering increasingly utilizes fibrillar scaffolds, made of natural or artificial polymers, colonized with cells. These scaffolds can be used either as carriers of cells to the place of deployment (if the polymer is biodegradable), or as permanent supports for the cells. Importantly, given their ability to provide more natural growth support than flat, two-dimensional surfaces, scaffolds can also be used to drive the differentiation of stem/progenitor cells, or to support their growth in vitro.

The study group is asked to develop a mathematical model of magnetically-driven cell colonization of the scaffold. Common endpoints of the scaffold colonization experiments are the density of cells in the unit volume of scaffold, and their spatial distribution. Also of interest are the efficiency of labeled cells collection from suspension during a given time period, or the amount of scaffold contamination with non-labeled cells. These endpoints depend on several parameters, too many and too difficult to be empirically optimized. The control parameters are: the size and density of magnetic particles on the cells’ surfaces; the size and density of the cells in suspension; the concentration of target cells; the strength of the magnetic force; fluid viscosity; the height of fluid column on top of the scaffold; diameters, geometry, volume distribution of the fibers; cell deformability; cell-fiber interaction (friction and adherence). For longer-term incubations cell migration and proliferation are also important.

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