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Cellular Candy Molds

From: Robert Coelius
MconneX

Anyone who has made Jello knows how difficult it can be to spring the wobbly treat from its mold intact. Now, imagine trying to dislodge something 10 times softer than gelatin, while keeping every detail unscathed down to a microscopic level. That was the problem faced by U-M biomedical engineering professor Shu Takayama.

His team is working with a type of silicone called Sylgard 527. It’s so soft that just a few cells can squeeze it out of shape.

“Soft silicone structures are useful for studying human cells outside the body,” Takayama said. “We can use them to measure the very small squeezing effect that cells generate during wound healing. This enables us to test the effects of drugs using very small samples of human cells, instead of testing on actual patients.”

The solution came when a PhD student and avid cook was trying a new recipe for homemade cotton candy. The cotton candy was a total failure but when he took the hardened mass out of the pan, he noticed that the sugar retained every detail of the pan it came out of. Why not use hardened sugar as a mold for super-soft silicone? They could pour in the silicone, wait for it to cure, then dissolve the mold in water, leaving perfectly cast pillars of soft silicone.

The sugar molds turn out perfect soft silicone pillars every time.

The pillar-making process begins with a hard epoxy “negative mold” — a mirror image of the sugar mold used to cast the final pillars. They pour in hard silicone to create an initial plastic mold. Next, the molten sugar mixture is poured into this initial plastic mold and left to cool, hardening into what looks a lot like a piece of hard candy. The hardened sugar is popped out of the initial plastic mold and the sugar is then used as a mold for the silicone. The researchers pour the silicone into the sugar mold and cure the concoction in an oven. Finally, the silicone and sugar mold are put into a water bath. The sugar dissolves, while the water-repellent silicone stays intact.

The candy molding process is detailed in a paper published in the journal Lab on a Chip.

In the meantime, they’re in the lab enjoying the sweet smell of science.

Posted in All News, Faculty News

December 7th, 2015 by yjmoon


Cellular Candy Molds

From: Robert Coelius
MconneX

Anyone who has made Jello knows how difficult it can be to spring the wobbly treat from its mold intact. Now, imagine trying to dislodge something 10 times softer than gelatin, while keeping every detail unscathed down to a microscopic level. That was the problem faced by U-M biomedical engineering professor Shu Takayama.

His team is working with a type of silicone called Sylgard 527. It’s so soft that just a few cells can squeeze it out of shape.

“Soft silicone structures are useful for studying human cells outside the body,” Takayama said. “We can use them to measure the very small squeezing effect that cells generate during wound healing. This enables us to test the effects of drugs using very small samples of human cells, instead of testing on actual patients.”

The solution came when a PhD student and avid cook was trying a new recipe for homemade cotton candy. The cotton candy was a total failure but when he took the hardened mass out of the pan, he noticed that the sugar retained every detail of the pan it came out of. Why not use hardened sugar as a mold for super-soft silicone? They could pour in the silicone, wait for it to cure, then dissolve the mold in water, leaving perfectly cast pillars of soft silicone.

The sugar molds turn out perfect soft silicone pillars every time.

The pillar-making process begins with a hard epoxy “negative mold” — a mirror image of the sugar mold used to cast the final pillars. They pour in hard silicone to create an initial plastic mold. Next, the molten sugar mixture is poured into this initial plastic mold and left to cool, hardening into what looks a lot like a piece of hard candy. The hardened sugar is popped out of the initial plastic mold and the sugar is then used as a mold for the silicone. The researchers pour the silicone into the sugar mold and cure the concoction in an oven. Finally, the silicone and sugar mold are put into a water bath. The sugar dissolves, while the water-repellent silicone stays intact.

The candy molding process is detailed in a paper published in the journal Lab on a Chip.

In the meantime, they’re in the lab enjoying the sweet smell of science.

Cellular Candy Molds

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December 7th, 2015 by yjmoon


Cellular Candy Molds

Posted in

December 7th, 2015 by yjmoon


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December 7th, 2015 by yjmoon


Have A Technical Innovation Idea That Could Improve Patient Care?

The UM Coulter Translational Research Partnership Program is pleased to announce the 2016 Call for Proposals.   The deadline for proposal submission is January 15th, 2016.

The UM Coulter Program is funded through proceeds of an endowment from the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation and supports collaborative translational research projects that involve co-investigators from any engineering department and a clinical department.

The goal of this program is to accelerate the development and commercialization of new medical devices, diagnostics, and other biomedical products that address unmet clinical needs and lead to improvements in health care. Projects are supported and mentored by a team of industry experienced experts who proactively work to accelerate Coulter Program objectives of developing new product concepts to the point of partnering with industry or forming start-up companies with follow-on funding to commercialize new products envisioned from translational research efforts. Funding does not require cost-sharing of salaries.

Distinctive aspects of the Coulter Program include business assessment work that dovetails with technical milestones for each project.  Specific benefits to each project include:

•         Business Development Support

•         Intellectual Property advice

•         Regulatory guidance

•         Follow-on funding guidance

•         Mentorship from Oversight Committee

•         The C3i Commercialization Planning Program

For more information, visit http://www.bme.umich.edu/research/coulter.php or Download Coulter Proposal Instructions and Application Form Herehttp://www.bme.umich.edu/research/coulter_apply.php

Karen Schroeder, a doctoral candidate in the Chestek lab for cortical neural prosthetics, records hand movements for development of control interface technology for amputees.

 

 

For questions, please contact Thomas Marten, Coulter Program Director, at tmarten@umich.edu or (734)647-1680.

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November 20th, 2015 by yjmoon


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