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Adv Mater. 2018 Jan;30(4). doi: 10.1002/adma.201705034. Epub 2017 Dec 7.

Magnetically Guided Self-Assembly and Coding of 3D Living Architectures.

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Bio-Acoustic MEMS in Medicine (BAMM) Laboratory, Canary Center at Stanford for Cancer Early Detection, Department of Radiology, School of Medicine, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, 94304, USA.
Department of Biochemistry, School of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, 94304, USA.
Stanford Genome Technology Center, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, 94304, USA.
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of California, Davis, CA, 95616, USA.
Department of Electrical Engineering (By Courtesy), Stanford University, Stanford, CA, 94305, USA.


In nature, cells self-assemble at the microscale into complex functional configurations. This mechanism is increasingly exploited to assemble biofidelic biological systems in vitro. However, precise coding of 3D multicellular living materials is challenging due to their architectural complexity and spatiotemporal heterogeneity. Therefore, there is an unmet need for an effective assembly method with deterministic control on the biomanufacturing of functional living systems, which can be used to model physiological and pathological behavior. Here, a universal system is presented for 3D assembly and coding of cells into complex living architectures. In this system, a gadolinium-based nonionic paramagnetic agent is used in conjunction with magnetic fields to levitate and assemble cells. Thus, living materials are fabricated with controlled geometry and organization and imaged in situ in real time, preserving viability and functional properties. The developed method provides an innovative direction to monitor and guide the reconfigurability of living materials temporally and spatially in 3D, which can enable the study of transient biological mechanisms. This platform offers broad applications in numerous fields, such as 3D bioprinting and bottom-up tissue engineering, as well as drug discovery, developmental biology, neuroscience, and cancer research.


coding; magnetic levitation; scaffold-free tissue engineering; self-assembly; soft materials

[Available on 2019-01-01]

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