Bobby Kent, Graduate Student (Baker Laboratory), Biomedical Engineering, University of Michigan
Injuries to tendons are extremely hard to repair. One promising approach is to find strategies to recruit the body’s own tendon progenitor cells into the injured area that could then engraft and restore tendon integrity. However, providing effective cues for directed migration of these cells poses a major technical hurdle. We found that synthetic hydrogels that encapsulate randomly arranged fiber segments add a beautifully intricate topography to the cell microenvironment, providing cues that enhance the number of migrating cells and increase their migration distance. In this image, tendon progenitor cells (red) are migrating from a cluster of cells at the center of the image with the help of engineered fibrous topography (green).