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Tissue Science & Engineering

Overview


Tissue Sciences and Engineering is defined by the U.S. Government Multi-Agency Tissue Engineering Science Interagency Working Groupas the use of physical, chemical, biological, and engineering processes to control and direct the aggregate behavior of cells. Exponent’s consultants have extensive expertise in both the biological and physical sciences. Our multi-disciplinary team provides knowledge in disciplines traditionally associated with tissue engineering, including the design of 3D matrices and the characterization of cellular responses to defined chemical and mechanical stimuli. We also have expertise in biological imaging techniques, and experience in the culture of mammalian cell lines (including human embryonic stem cells). Several of our consultants excel in the design of quantitative cellular assays (in 2D and 3D) and the development of enabling technologies. Our wide-ranging capabilities allow us to rapidly design and optimize individualized cell-culture constructs and develop novel cell-based assays.

The following is a partial list of Exponent’s capabilities in the Tissue Sciences and Engineering field:

Mechanical

  • Design, implementation, and characterization of mechanically active (2D and 3D) culture devices 
  • Characterizing the mechanical properties of active (live) or passive (acellular) tissue products 
  • Mechanical characterization of passive biological graft materials 
  • Characterization of individual cell, cell population, and tissue response to the mechanical environment 
  • Uniaxial mechanical testing/characterization of tissue-engineered constructs (including tension, unconfined and confined compression, and low force / low displacement testing)

Methods and Techniques 

  • Characterization of cells and tissues to the mechanical environment through: 
    • Mechanical testing 
    • Assaying for matrix protein accumulation 
    • Measurement of radiolabel incorporation to determine matrix protein biosynthesis 
    • Real-time quantitative RT-PCR to determine gene expression 
    • Real-time physiologic measures using fluorescent intra- and extracellular probes 
  • Human embryonic stem-cell culture and general culture techniques for clonal and primary cells 
  • Characterization of undifferentiated human embryonic stem cell proliferation 
  • Microfabrication, soft-lithography, cytotoxicity assays, immunohistochemistry

Chemical 

  • Characterization of cellular responses to soluble factor gradients (2D and 3D); cell migration assays and autocrine/paracrine interactions
  • Assay development 
  • Design of co-culture systems within 2D and 3D environments (hydrogels, polymers, and biomatrices) 
  • Development of enabling technologies or adaptation of existing technologies for tissue engineering 
  • Design, characterization, and optimization of biological microfluidic and microscale systems 
  • Culture of cells in 2D and 3D (in tissue- and cell-seeded gel environments)

Imaging 

  • Epifluorescent microscopy techniques, including confocal microscopy

Modeling 

  • Microscale transport phenomena, computational modeling, and biological MEMS 
  • Nonlinear constitutive modeling of isotropic and aligned tissue constructs

General 

  • Development and implementation of custom testing fixtures 
  • Complete tissue culture facilities 
  • Complete small-scale materials test facility with environmental control