Culture of cells onto bio-INcompatible substrates with no relationship to any natural micro-environment.
Talking about the collaborative research conducted at the Pelling Lab for Biophysical Manipulation, Dr Andrew Pelling's presentation showcased his bio-hacking activities that literally pushes limits of biological function. For instance, he showed how his team of PhD's and post-docs are capable of creating microfluidic system that cannot only hold but also bend cells.
Growing of human-jellyfish hybrid ‘skins’ onto LEGO mini-figures.
Developed in preparation for his residency stint at SymbioticA (2011), LEGO project grows living 'skins' around LEGO plastics through a process of culturing genetically modified human cells (including HeLa) expressing fluorescent jellyfish proteins.
Decellularised process of mouse heart
In a facinating 'Bio-hacking Project', Andrew and his team used a "decellularising" process to remove cells from mouse hearts (otherwise disposed) leaving behind the extracellular matrix (ECM), and then used the heart scaffold to grow liver cells on top, boasting that by "adding a couple of electrodes" you'll have a pumping heart with liver cells.
By using EMC, Andrew's team discovered that they can produce cheap callogen scaffolds, otherwise expensive and difficult to manipulate into natural shapes. Multiple-bioreactor set up is used to collect pure EMC to create designer biodevices.
Moving from a decellularised steaks, Andrew attested to the hard work his lab before sharing an astonishing result that had emerged on the day of his talk, an image featuring a decelluarised apple with human tissue cells growing on top of it!