Next generation cell culture tools featuring micro- and nanotopographies for biological screening

James Carthew, Hazem H. Abdelmaksoud, Karla J. Cowley, Margeaux Hodgson-Garms, Roey Elnathan, Joachim P. Spatz, Juergen Brugger, Helmut Thissen, Kaylene J. Simpson, Nicolas H. Voelcker, Jessica E. Frith, Victor J. Cadarso

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Cells are able to perceive complex mechanical cues across both the micro- and nanoscale which can influence their development. Whilst causative effects between surface topography and cellular function can be demonstrated, the variability in materials used in this screening process makes it difficult to discern whether the observed phenotypic changes are indeed a result of topographical cues alone, or the inherent difference in material properties. A novel approach to directly imprint both micro- and nanoscaled topographical features into the base of conventional cell cultureware is thus developed, facilitating its compatibility with standard biological techniques and methods of analysis. The utility of this technology is demonstrated by performing high-throughput screening across five distinct cell types to interrogate the effects of 12 surface topographies, exemplifying unique cell specific responses to both behavior and cell morphological characteristics. The ability of this technology to underpin new insights into how surface topographies can regulate key image descriptors to drive cell fate determination is further demonstrated. These findings will inform the future development of advanced micro- and nanostructured cell culture substrates that can regulate cell behavior and fate determination across the life sciences, including fundamental cell biology, drug screening, and cell therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2100881
Number of pages15
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2022


  • high-throughput screening
  • micro/nano-topography
  • nanoimprint lithography
  • tissue culture plastic

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