When growing cells outside the body, it is important to give them a safe place to attach and lay down roots. Like how plants need fertile soil, cells need nutrients to survive for long periods of time in a petri dish. Some experiments require cells alive for 60 days outside the body. One way to address this problem is to coat the surface of the dish with a biomaterial before laying the cells down.
The biomaterial can provide the necessary nutrients that the cells will need to thrive. Before planting the cells, researchers studied the stability of the coating and ensure that it would last for long periods of time submerged within the liquid that cells grow in. After leaving the material to incubate for 60 days, they dried the sample and made a scratch mark on the surface to measure the thickness of the coating. The instrument then colors the image by height. The red areas are peaks, and the blue areas are valleys on the surface. The height variation in this image is due to salts that were present as the coating dried. This caused the final image to appear like stained glass.
Alexandra Edelbrock & Zaida Álvarez
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Simpson Querry Institute
Tools & Techniques: Bruker Zygo 3D Optical Profiler