Monday

Silicon and Heart Cells

This is just a quick note on something I came across on the internet. Scientists at Harvard and Caltech have created an artificial sea jelly (incorrectly called jellyfish). This might not seem all that exciting as sea jellies are more than 95% water with a few neurons, but this is way cooler. This jelly, named Medusoid and pictured at left, was created by placing heart cells from a rat onto a computer-generated 3D model of an ephyra- an early stage in sea jelly development and pictured at right- then coated in a thin layer of silicon. Once the silicon dried it was peeled off taking the heart cells with it. When placed in a liquid the heart cells contract causing the silicon matrix to move with the same motion as a real ephyra stage jelly. The really exciting part is that this research could lead to the creation of other muscle types built on similar silicon matrices such as heart valves made from the heart cells of the patient.

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