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Examining Integration Techniques Using Living Yeast Cells into Self-Assembled Nanostructures

Cynthia Douthit1, Eric Carnes1, Carlee Ashley1, DeAnna Lopez1, Shelly Karlin1, and C. Jeffery Brinker2. (1) Department of Chemical Engineering, University of New Mexico, Advanced Materials Laboratory, 1001 University Blvd. SE, Suite 100, Albuquerque, NM 87106, (2) Sandia National Laboratory

Patternable cell immobilization is an essential feature of any solid-state device designed to use living cells. Immobilized cells must remain viable in a structured environment, yet remains fluid and allows cells to be connected to one another. They must also be able to control the environment around them to achieve necessary chemical gradients. The previously described environment can be constructed via evaporation-induced self-assembly of nanostructured silica. We have developed several distinct cell immobilization and patterning strategies for placing cells. However, in order for cells to be patterned, they must be able to integrate themselves within the previously described nanostructure. Early experimentation showed this was possible, but no further investigation into the matter occurred. Recent study has allowed us to learn what affects the ability of the cells to integrate and the ability of the immobilized cells to establish relevant gradients of ions or signaling molecules has been characterized. This active integration of cells into a host matrix not only provides enhanced viability, but also provides a unique way of integrating bio- and nano-materials. A nanostructure with desirable, user-defined characteristics can now be made which still allows for cells to integrate themselves into the nanostructure and create a bio-compatible environment.