Top Menu

Bottom-up Engineering of 3D Human Muscle: Towards Bio-Hybrid Soft Robotics and Regenerative Technologies

January 26, 2016 09:40 – 10:30 Adam Feinberg, CMU, USA

Striated muscle tissue has evolved as the primary actuator for nearly all animals on the planet, demonstrating that it is an incredibly adaptable and highly scalable system. The basic structures and control schemes are remarkably well conserved across length scales from micro to macro, and if effectively harnessed, have the potential to dramatically improve functionality and performance of robotic systems and of repaired tissues. We have developed the ability to integrate engineered cardiac and skeletal muscle with soft, deformable materials in order to create biohybrid systems that combine biotic and abiotic components. To do this, we have created a biomimetic, surface-initiated assembly process that recapitulates how cells naturally build the extracellular matrix (ECM) of protein nanofibers in tissues. We are using these ECM nanofibers to engineer scaffolds for cardiac and skeletal muscle that mimic the ECM structure and composition of native tissues. Further, we have developed 3D bioprinting technique to create larger structures that incorporate more intricate anatomy. A key focus is evaluating the types and structures of ECM proteins that maximize volumetric muscle formation in 2D and 3D configurations. Current work is focused on applications in actuators for soft robotics, in vitro engineered human muscle for drug discovery, toxicity screening and disease modeling, and future uses in tissue regeneration.