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Custom Multi-Well Plate Design for Rapid Assembly of Photo-Patterned Hydrogels

Researchers have designed a device that allows for the rapid assembly of hydrogels of varying stiffness in a multi-well plate format. This is a novel custom multi-well plate design that allows for a onestep hydrogel-based stiffness assay assembly in approximately one (1) hour. The multi-well plate upper structure is designed similar to a regular multi-well plate such that a gel fits in each well and cells and media are added on top. The upper structure design allows for adequate gas exchange and minimum evaporation. Comparison between cell behaviors seeded in the custom and a standard multi-well plate demonstrated the suitability of the design as a cell culture platform.

The extracellular matrix (ECM) provides both mechanical support and biochemical cues that influence cellular behavior. Matrix stiffness in particular, has been found to regulate cellular morphology, motility, proliferation, differentiation, and drug responses among other behaviors. Thus, biomaterial platforms that exhibit wide ranges of stiffness and a semi-high-throughput format would be usefulfor elucidating cell-substrate relationships. Such a device can have an immediate impact in research areas such as for example drug screening, where high-throughput is a critical requirement.

The potential benefits of this technology included:
  • Minimize the preparation time for assay assemblies.
  • Minimize the amount of labor required to prepare assay assemblies.
  • Increase control of the level of gel stiffness.
  • Increase the throughput rates.

This technology has several potential applications including:
  • Screening drugs
  • Encapsulating cells and other molecules

Additional Details


Saint Louis University

Intellectual Property Protection

Patent Issued

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