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Artificial Marrow Niche

Currently, in vitro blood cell formation for transfusion purposes is hampered by the inability to obtain end-stage mature cells. The bone marrow niche provides essential cues for blood cell maturation. We aim to recreate these cues, using a GMP-compatible method to translate into future manufacturing processes.

3D Functionalized Scaffolds

Key people: Miss Maria ColzaniDr Cedric Ghevaert

Key collaborators: Dr Gavin Wright (WTSI), Professor Ruth Cameron (Department of Material Sciences), Professor Serena Best (Department of Material Sciences), Professor Farndale (Department of Biochemistry), Dr Patricia Maguire (UCD Conway).

Cell-to-cell contact is key to blood cell formation. We have used the exemplar of MKs, which release their platelets whilst tightly apposed to the bone marrow vascular cells. Supported by an award from the Medical Research Council (MRC) Regenerative Medicine Committee, we are generating a library of 400 recombinant proteins that reproduce the cell surface landscape of vascular cells in order to identify which proteins (and combinations thereof) give the positive signals for platelet release from MKs. In addition we have developed a collagen-based scaffold that functions as a “back-bone” 3D structure for in vitro culture of MKs. We are currently developing the biochemical process to functionalize this scaffold with proteins that positively regulate platelet formation.

Bioreactors and Microfluidics

Key people:  Miss Maria ColzaniDr Cedric Ghevaert

Key collaborators: Dr Gavin Wright (WTSI), Professor Ruth Cameron (Department of Material Sciences), Professor Serena Best (Department of Material Sciences), Professor Farndale (Department of Biochemistry), Dr Patricia Maguire (UCD Conway).


Mature blood cells extravasate from the bone marrow and the shear stress generated by the blood flow is an inherent part of the signals required for the final stage of blood cell maturation (in particular platelet release from MKs). My team is designing a bioreactor (and fluidics) into which to integrate the functionalized 3D scaffolds for optimal in vitro platelet production.