Bioelectric Cell Control
Manipulating bioelectricity to grow muscle cells
Tufts University, United States
Who: Sophie Letcher, Ph.D. student in biomedical engineering
When: 2020 – Present
Institutes: Tufts University, NIH P41 Tissue Engineering Resource Center, United States
Supervisors: David Kaplan, professor and chair of biomedical engineering at Tufts University
A major challenge in producing large, structured tissues like steak is controlling the growth and differentiation of cells into a complex 3D structure. Bioelectricity is one way this naturally occurs in tissues. All biological cells have electrical properties (“bioelectricity”) that are responsible for maintaining their health and development. Sophie is manipulating bioelectricity in the lab setting to control the proliferation and differentiation of mammalian and insect muscle cells.
Sophie’s work will help to understand how we can use bioelectricity as a tool to advance cultured meat production.