Designing scaffolds to culture muscle and fat together
University of California, Los Angeles, United States
Who: Stephanie Kawecki, Ph.D. student in bioengineering
When: 2020 – Present
Institutes: University of California, Los Angeles, United States
Supervisors: Amy Rowat, associate professor and vice chair of integrative biology and physiology at the University of California, Los Angeles
Stephanie is designing a scaffold containing two different materials: one that’s ideal for growing muscle cells and another that’s ideal for fat cells. By combining these two materials in specific ratios and patterns, Stephanie will produce a marbled piece of cultured meat. She will measure the texture and fat distribution of this cultured steak and compare it to the different standards of conventional steaks.
Stephanie’s work will help get us closer to a more realistic cultured steak. Growing marbled meat in a lab is notoriously difficult because fat and meat prefer different growth environments. By designing a scaffold with characteristics that will support both cell types, Stephanie will help scientists grow meat alongside fat, which provides a steak with its signature texture and flavor.