MAE T&P Seminar – Collective Cell Behavior in 3D Cell Assemblies—3D Printed Structures, Random Aggregates, and


12:45 pm-1:45 pm
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MAE-A Room 303
939 Sweetwater Drive
Gainesville, FL 32611


Tuesday, August 25, 2022, at 12:50 pm
Location: MAE-A 303

Dr. Thomas Angelini
Associate Professor
Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
University of Florida

The remarkable differences between cells grown on plates and cells in vivo or in 3D culture are well-known. At the physical level, cell shape, structure, motion, and mechanical behavior in 3D are totally different from those in the dish and are far less explored. At the molecular level, cells grown in monolayers exhibit gene expression profiles that do not correlate or are anticorrelated with those of cells grown in 3D culture or xenograft animal models. However, our understanding of cell biology has been heavily shaped by the culture plate, whether viewed through the lens of gene expression profiles, signaling pathways, morphological characterization, or mechanical behaviors. Closing this major gap between 2D in vitro culture and in vivo biology requires a tunable and flexible method for creating 3D cell assemblies and performing experiments on cells in 3D environments. Critically, studying collective cell behavior in 3D assemblies is needed to gain an understanding of the relationship between the detailed cellular structure found within tissues and emergent tissue function. In this talk, I will describe how we use 3D biofabrication tools in combination with a 3D culture medium made from jammed microgels to perform a wide range of 3D experiments. I will demonstrate this experimental platform’s ability to print structures made from multiple cell types or extracellular matrix with predictable feature sizes down to the scale of a few cell bodies. I will also present data from numerous types of experiments performed in 3D, designed to explore collective cell behavior and cell-cell interactions. For example, I will discuss recent results on collectively driven mechanical instabilities in 3D printed structures, collective cell migration in 3D printed immunotherapy models, cell aggregation in random 3D cell dispersions, and biofabrication with single-cell precision.

Dr. Thomas E. Angelini is an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Florida. His research background includes protein, lipid, DNA, and virus self-assembly; collective cell migration and force transmission in cell monolayers; bacterial biofilm growth, and spreading associated with biosurfactants and extracellular polysaccharides. Currently, his work focuses on cell assembly and collective motion in 2D and 3D cell populations and 3D printing of soft matter. In 2014, Dr. Angelini received the NSF CAREER award to study the stability and dynamics of tissue cell assemblies embedded in yield stress materials.

MAE Faculty Host: Malisa Sarntinoranont


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Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering