Joint Centers of Excellence Program
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In vitro 3D organized neurodevelopment to model autism-related developmental disorders

In the completed phase of this project, we developed a straightforward method of creating layered or gradient 3D hydrogel matrices for cell culture, termed density gradient multilayer polymerization (DGMP). We are now applying this method to the study of neurodevelopmental diseases by cultuiring neural precursor cells derived from patient and control induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) in these patterned hydrogels, seeking to identify parameters that direct neurite growth and migration. We plan to expand this project to the study of stem cell responses to variations in hydrogel structure.