Functionalization of microwell scaffolds to treat type 1 diabetes

Functionalization of microwell scaffolds to treat type 1 diabetes

Introduction

Islet transplantation into the liver is a promising minimal invasive therapy to treat type 1 diabetes. However, the decrease of islet mass caused by mechanical stress, the lack of oxygen due to impaired vascularization and the immediate blood mediated immune response as well as a shortage of suitable pancreas donors limit the implementation of this therapy. Extra-hepatic islet transplantation using tissue engineered constructs might help to overcome the abovementioned disadvantages.

Main goal

The aim of this study is designing the microwell scaffolds with two different polymers and functionalization of them for preparing a proper microenvironment for islets, using Extra Cellular Matrix (ECM) components and other molecules. Additionally, we will focus on interaction of different ECM molecules with different integrins to find the signaling pathways that can boost the viability and function of β-cells and islets.

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Approach

During this project, you will make the microwell scaffolds. Subsequently, you will study the efficiency of different techniques for functionalizing of scaffolds. Furthermore, you will try the effectiveness of different molecules on viability and function of β-cells.

I should mention that, the project can be split for 2 master students. Moreover, in the first step of your project I will give you few lectures to help you to start the project with deep knowledge about the project and follow the related papers more sufficient.

Techniques

Handling biomaterials

Laser technology

Press technology

Film casting

Cell culture

Confocal microscopy

Scanning electron microscopy (SEM)

Immunohistochemistry staining

Fluorescent staining

Micro-contact printing

Daily supervisor: Elahe Hadavi, MSc

If you are interested in this assignment, please contact dr. Janneke Alers, contact person for all DBE assignments j.c.alers@utwente.nl