Dec 16, 2022

Scientists’ use of hydrogel materials leads to stem cells developing like human embryos

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, materials

Materials scientists at UNSW Sydney have shown that human pluripotent stem cells in a lab can initiate a process resembling the gastrulation phase—where cells begin differentiating into new cell types—much earlier than occurs in mother nature.

For an embryo developing in the womb, occurs at day 14. But in a dish in a lab at UNSW’s Kensington campus, Scientia Associate Professor Kris Kilian oversaw an experiment where a gastrulation-like event was triggered within two days of culturing in a unique biomaterial that, as it turned out, set the conditions to mimic this stage of embryo development.

“Gastrulation is the key step that leads to the human body plan,” says A/Prof. Kilian.

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