Development of In Situ Imaging Capabilities to Investigate Cell/Scaffold Interactions in Tissue Engineering Constructs


Tissue engineering is defined as the interdisciplinary field that combines the principles of engineering and life sciences towards the development of biological substitutes that restore, maintain, or improve tissue function.  Over $600 million is spent annually to develop new tissue engineering products, but as of 2002 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved less than five products.  Several technical challenges, such as how to grow three-dimensional (3-D) tissues, which mimic the organization and function of natural tissue, must be overcome to bring these products to market.  The ability to view the 3-D interconnected porous structure of tissue engineering constructs and the corresponding cell interactions would help to further the advancement of these materials.

In our laboratory collinear optical coherent microscopy/confocal fluorescence microscopy (OCM/CFM) has been used to image the 3-D structural elements of such constructs.  This system combines the high spatial resolution (1 mm) and depth of field (1 mm) associated with OCM with the fluorescence capabilities of CFM.  Therefore allowing us to not only investigate the 3-D nature of the scaffolds, but also allows for the use of conventional fluorescent and immunofluorescent staining techniques to image the resulting cellular response.  The goal of this project is to use OCM/CFM to develop in situ imaging capabilities.  The ability to image the cell-scaffold and cell-cell interactions “real time” will lead to a greater understanding of the dynamic events that lead to protein and ECM expression as well as cell differentiation.    In order to perform live cell imaging a bioreactor, which can sustain cell viability and allow for imaging has to be constructed.  This poster will discuss the design of the bioreactor and the progress of live cell imaging.



Jean S Stephens (Post Doc)

Joy P Dunkers (Mentor)

Polymers Division (854.01)

Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory

B114/224 Stop 8543

x2895, x4977 (fax)

Sigma Xi Member: No

Poster Category: Biotechnology