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An Orchestrated Process: UCSB researchers develop a more precise and controlled method of engineering tissues from stem cells

May 15, 2017

Nothing beats nature. The diverse and wonderful varieties of cells and tissues that comprise the human body are evidence of that.

Each one of us starts out as a mass of identical, undifferentiated cells, and thanks to a combination of signals and forces, each cell responds by choosing a developmental pathway and multiplying into the tissues that become our hearts, brains, hair, bones or blood. A major promise of studying human embryonic stem cells is to understand these processes and apply the knowledge toward tissue engineering. Researchers in UC Santa Barbara’s departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology have gotten a step closer to unlocking the secrets of tissue morphology with a method of three-dimensional culturing of embryonic stem cells using light.

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