Newcastle University: Cultivating 4D tissues – the first self-curving cornea

Scientists have developed a biological system which lets cells form a desired shape by moulding their surrounding material – initially creating the world’s first self-curving cornea.

The cornea is the clear outer layer at the front of the eye ball.

In the research, a flat circle of gel containing corneal stromal cells (stem cells) was activated with a serum so that the edges of the gel contracted at a different rate to the centre, drawing up the edge over the course of 5 days to form a bowl-like curved cornea.

This time-lapsed video shows this astonishing process.

The research is published in Advanced Functional Materials and was led by Professor Che Connon, professor of tissue engineering, Newcastle University. He says: “Currently there is a shortage of donated corneas which has worsened in recent years, as they cannot be used from anyone who has had laser eye surgery so we need to explore alternatives such as these self-curving corneas.

“The cells are triggered into forming a complex 3D structure, but as this requires time to occur, the fourth dimension in this equation, we have labelled them 4D structures.”

The 4D formation is achieved by the innovative use of cells as biological actuators, components which get the parts moving. In this case, the cells themselves force the surrounding tissue to move in a pre-determined manner over time.

Full press release 

 

Leave a
comment

Read more posts

Leadership programme launched to help…

17.09.2020

Registration is now open for a new, fully-funded leadership programme, designed to help SMEs build resilience, tackle the challenges faced during and after Covid-19, and drive future productivity and growth.…

Read more

A LEADING PENSIONS EXPERT WARNS…

15.09.2020

On Pension Awareness Day (September 15), a leading wealth management expert warns the Government’s Budget in November could make it even more difficult for people to save for retirement. As…

Read more

Northumberland College and Northumbria Police…

10.09.2020

Northumberland College has agreed a unique partnership with Northumbria Police which will increase students’ awareness of personal safety and encourage good community relations. The three-year strategic partnership, which will see a dedicated Police Community Support Officer…

Read more

Do you run a small business? Want to develop your leadership skills, plan for the future and grow your networks? This new programme is delivered by small business experts @NorthumbriaUni smallbusinesscharter.org/smal… #SmallBizLeaders

Join our
mailing list