Currently, we are exploring two approaches to controlling group behaviors in tissues: Outside-In and Inside-Out control.
Outside-In control is inspired by sheep herding, except we control the collective migration of large numbers of cells within a tissue. Collective cell migration is key for development, cancer, and wound healing, and learning to control it will help us better grow and heal tissues. To do this, we build bioelectric tools that hack the natural ability of cells to sense and follow DC electric fields–a process called galvanotaxis. Learn more here!
With Inside-Out control, we build objects that can trick tissues into responding to them as if they are cells, which allows us to manipulate tissues from within. Our cell-mimetic objects are coated with proteins that cells use to recognize and attach to other cells (e.g. cadherin proteins). This essentially tricks cells into treating these devices like another cell, and has exciting possibilities for controlling tissue growth and improving biomedical implants. Learn more here!