A new spin-out company from the University of Oxford brings something new to the mix. Led by professor of chemical biology Hagan Bayley, OxSyBio will work not only with actual cells, but with a technology that allows them to print synthetic tissue-like materials out of water droplets.
This aspect of OxSyBio’s work follows on from research published by Bayley in Science last year, in which they showed that networks of (delicately engineered) droplets could be printed to act like a synthetic tissue, complete with pathways for electrical communication.
Bayley explained the general idea to me in a phone call. “I think we can go some way toward mimicking tissues by printing aqueous droplets that are around the size of cells or slightly bigger and filling those droplets with different chemicals and biochemicals,” he said. “So we end up with a material that has many compartments but we’re able to transmit signals through it just as nerves would work in living tissues, and we’re able to get the materials to change shape just as a muscle would, for example.” … (Read more)