Cell culture has traditionally been performed on a flat glass or plastic surface treated with attachment agents such as the protein collagen or the polypeptide polylysine which encouraged growth of a monolayer of cells. In recent years we have begun to appreciate the full extent to which cell responses, cell signaling and cell-cell interactions are affected by growth surface material, topology and intimacy. 3D gels and synthetic matrices are now believed to better mimic normal physiological tissue conditions compared to traditional 2D culture surfaces. These scaffolds encapsulate and support growth of cells which may form complex multicellular structures. Recent advances in the biomaterials area have provided a range of three dimensional media compatible with cell culture. With extensive experience of 3D cell culture I am studying the growth of primary endothelial cells and dental pulp stem cells in these new matrices. Using fluorescent and confocal microscopy aided by three dimensional image reconstruction I will be searching for potential cell functions and cell-cell interactions previously hidden in 2D culture.
Dr. Benjamin Zeitlin, email@example.com, 415.351.7105