Fatma M Bathawab, a third year PhD student at our lab, has been awarded the prize for Best Poster Communication at the BORS 2016 Conference held earlier this week in Glasgow. Congrats Fatma!
The poster details the use of a set of four polymers – Poly(methyl-, ethyl-, butyl- and hexyl- acrylate), i.e. PMA, PEA, PBA and PHA – characterised by similar surface properties e.g. stiffness, to study the effect on the protein layer at the material interface of their increasing molecular surface mobility. Three of these polymers spontaneously induce the assembly of physiological-like fibronectin nanonetworks.
The influence of polymer mobility on stem cell fate was also investigated. The work showed that a greater exposure of fibronectin sites important for cell adhesion and differentiation in the FN network conformation occurs in these polymers compared to the globular conformation on PMA, thus producing a non-monotonic effect on differentiation of mouse pre-myoblasts.
Using ELISAs more BMP-2 growth factor was shown to be bound on PEA compared to the rest of the polymers. This correlates to our observation of increased osteogenic differentiation of human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs – BM) grown on PEA compared to the rest of the polymers. The poster authors hypothesize that PEA is more efficient at exposing FN sites important for BMP-2 presentation.
More info about the BORS 2016 Conference here.