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In vitro culture of insect muscle from embryonic tissues, with applications in robotic bioactuation.
Tufts University, B.S. in Chemical Engineering
Development of functional, biodegradable muscle actuators for applications in soft robotics and biomimetic locomotion. Insect cells are used to generate these muscle constructs as they may be cultured under ambient conditions, and have the ability to survive without medium replenishment for periods of over two months. Our approach has been to isolate insect stem cells from developing embryos and induce their differentiation into skeletal muscle tissue using developmental hormones. We are currently investigating metabolic mechanisms of survival and the potential interplay between fat and muscle cells in our system. Other areas of focus include the design and implementation of novel biomaterials for achieving cell alignment, formation of 3-dimensional functional muscle constructs, and investigation of the impacts of mechanical and electrical signaling on tissue construct development and function.
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