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Rapid Synthesis of 3D Tissues by Chemically Programmed Assembly


In a multicellular organism, tissue structure is a basis of tissue function. The capacity to create functional tissues has scientific and practical benefits, which has fueled the development of methods to build tissues with controlled structure. Existing technologies are myriad but have important shortcomings. I present a new technology that overcomes these limitations, permitting the synthesis of complex yet well-defined tissue. This technology, dubbed Chemically Programmed Assembly (CPA), exploits DNA hybridization in order to synthesize tissues that span centimeters, possess single-cell spatial resolution, contain multiple cell types, have controlled geometry, and are fully embedded in a variety of extracellular matrices. The CPA process entails attaching living cells to a patterned template surface via DNA hybridization, immobilizing these cells within hydrogel, and releasing them from the template to form microtissues implanted within that hydrogel. I use CPA to demonstrate the synthesis of various microtissues and analyze the behavior of cells within these microtissues.

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