Concise review: tailoring bioengineered scaffolds for stem cell applications in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine

Steffen Cosson, Ellen A. Otte, Hadi Hezaveh, Justin J. Cooper-White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


The potential for the clinical application of stem cells in tissue regeneration is clearly significant. However, this potential has remained largely unrealized owing to the persistent challenges in reproducibly, with tight quality criteria, and expanding and controlling the fate of stem cells in vitro and in vivo. Tissue engineering approaches that rely on reformatting traditional Food and Drug Administration-approved biomedical polymers from fixation devices to porous scaffolds have been shown to lack the complexity required for in vitro stem cell culture models or translation to in vivo applications with high efficacy. This realization has spurred the development of advanced mimetic biomaterials and scaffolds to increasingly enhance our ability to control the cellular microenvironment and, consequently, stem cell fate. New insights into the biology of stem cells are expected to eventuate from these advances in material science, in particular, from synthetic hydrogels that display physicochemical properties reminiscent of the natural cell microenvironment and that can be engineered to display or encode essential biological cues. Merging these advanced biomaterials with high-throughput methods to systematically, and in an unbiased manner, probe the role of scaffold biophysical and biochemical elements on stem cell fate will permit the identification of novel key stem cell behavioral effectors, allow improved in vitro replication of requisite in vivo niche functions, and, ultimately, have a profound impact on our understanding of stem cell biology and unlock their clinical potential in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-164
Number of pages9
JournalStem Cells Translational Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Bioengineering
  • Hydrogel
  • Niche
  • Scaffold
  • Stem cell
  • Tissue engineering

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