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Christine Gering: Towards better understanding of hydrogel material properties for cell culture purposes

Tampere University
LocationKorkeakoulunkatu 1, Tampere
Hervanta campus, Tietotalo in auditorium TB109 and via remote connection.
Date16.6.2023 9.00–13.00
Entrance feeFree of charge
In her doctoral dissertation Christine Gering explored the modification, characterization, and application of hydrogels, in particular those made from the polysaccharide gellan gum. Hydrogels have been identified as excellent biomaterials for 3D cell culture, supporting them through an aqueous environment, mechanical support, and biochemically instructive ligands. The overarching goal of her thesis was to investigate and refine the available methods for hydrogel modification and to characterize the final product.

Human tissue is a complex combination of cells, the matrix material they secret, soluble biochemical factors, and other components in a highly specific three-dimensional organization. As biomaterial scientists, we are interested in creating artificial matrix materials that recapitulate the properties of tissues and can imitate the native living space of cells. Culturing cells in the laboratory is a quintessential method for biomedical research and required for many fields including stem cell research, vaccine development, regenerative tissue engineering, replacement of lost or damaged tissue in patients and personalized medicine.

Hydrogels address several of the required properties for such artificial matrix materials, and they are the core of the thesis presented here. Essentially, hydrogels are biofriendly polymer networks saturated with water that can provide volumetric support. They can also be chemically equipped with biological cues and other cell-instructive features. Our task is to create hydrogels that are tailored to their specific application, meaning their final stiffness, how fast they crosslink, if cells can degrade and remodel the polymer network, and so forth. Moreover, we want to develop tools for the characterization of hydrogels and to examine the performance of the hydrogels in their application, so that they provide a valuable tool in medical research.

Public defence on Friday 16 June

The doctoral dissertation of MSc (Tech) Christine Gering in the field of biomedical engineering titled Design strategies for polysaccharide hydrogels used in soft tissue engineering will be publicly examined at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology at 12:00 on Friday 16 June 2023 at Tietotalo in auditorium TB109 (Korkeakoulunkatu 1, Tampere). The Opponent will be Professor João Mano of University of Aveiro, Portugal. The Custos will be Professor Minna Kellomäki of Tampere University, Finland.

The doctoral dissertation is available online.

The public defence can be followed via remote connection

Photograph: Jonne Renvall/Tampere University