Brown University scientists have developed a new 3D petri dish that more closely simulates the in vitro environment of real tissue. Though not the first 3D dish out there, Brown’s researchers believe this is a better and easier to manufacture solution.
The group engineered a special gel mold made of agarose to fit inside a typical Petri dish, commonly used to grow cells for experiments. The recesses in the mold allow cells to randomly distribute and interact with each other. The cells grow in clusters, simulating the growth of cells in the human body better than cells growing on a flat 2-D surface, said Anthony Napolitano GS, lead author of the paper and a doctoral candidate in biomedical engineering.
The 3-D Petri dish could allow faster production of microtissues, which could be used for tests or transplantation into human bodies, said Jeffrey Morgan, associate professor of medical science and principal investigator for the research, in a University press release.
“Having a three-dimensional environment for the cells is much more natural for them,” Napolitano said.
He said working with 3-D Petri dishes is less labor-intensive than working with traditional 2-D Petri dishes. And, because agarose can be obtained from seaweed, the molds are relatively inexpensive to create.
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Press release: Brown Scientists Take the Petri Dish to New Dimensions