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Autapse is an unusual type of synapse generated by a neuron on itself. The ability to monitor axonal growth of single neurons and autapse formation in three-dimensions (3D) may provide fundamental information relating to many cellular processes, such as axonal development, synaptic plasticity and neural signal transmission. However, monitoring such growth(More)
Regenerative medicine has rapidly evolved over the past decade owing to its potential applications to improve human health. Targeted differentiations of stem cells promise to regenerate a variety of tissues and/or organs despite significant challenges. Recent studies have demonstrated the vital role of the physical microenvironment in regulating stem cell(More)
Cell alignment plays a critical role in various cell behaviors including cytoskeleton reorganization, membrane protein relocation, nucleus gene expression, and ECM remodeling. Cell alignment is also known to exert significant effects on tissue regeneration (e.g., neuron) and modulate mechanical properties of tissues including skeleton, cardiac muscle and(More)
Cell mechanical microenvironment (CMM) significantly affects cell behaviors such as spreading, migration, proliferation and differentiation. However, most studies on cell response to mechanical stimulation are based on two-dimensional (2D) planar substrates, which cannot mimic native three-dimensional (3D) CMM. Accumulating evidence has shown that there is(More)
Cardiac myofibroblast differentiation, as one of the most important cellular responses to heart injury, plays a critical role in cardiac remodeling and failure. While biochemical cues for this have been extensively investigated, the role of mechanical cues, e.g., extracellular matrix stiffness and mechanical strain, has also been found to mediate cardiac(More)
Cell-based biosensors (CBBs) have emerged as promising biotechnical tools whereby various cell types can be used as basic sensing units to detect external stimuli. Specifically, CBBs have been applied in environmental monitoring, drug screening, clinical diagnosis and biosecurity. For these applications, CBBs offer several advantages over conventional(More)
We presented a benchtop technique that can fabricate reconfigurable, three-dimensional (3D) microfluidic devices made from a soft paper-polymer composite. This fabrication approach can produce microchannels at a minimal width of 100 μm and can be used to prototype 3D microfluidic devices by simple bending and stretching. The entire fabrication process can(More)
Cell-laden microfluidic hydrogels find great potential applications in microfluidics, tissue engineering, and drug delivery, due to their ability to control mass transport and cell microenvironment. A variety of methods have been developed to fabricate hydrogels with microfluidic channels, such as molding, bioprinting, and photopatterning. However, the(More)
The tissues of hollow organs can routinely stretch up to 2.5 times their length. Although significant pathology can arise if relatively large stretches are sustained, the responses of cells are not known at these levels of sustained strain. A key challenge is presenting cells with a realistic and well-defined three-dimensional (3D) culture environment that(More)
Natural cellular microenvironment consists of spatiotemporal gradients of multiple physical (e.g. extracellular matrix stiffness, porosity and stress/strain) and chemical cues (e.g. morphogens), which play important roles in regulating cell behaviors including spreading, proliferation, migration, differentiation and apoptosis, especially for pathological(More)