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Microfluidics platform for studying Stem Cells-Immune interactions

Stem cells possess an extraordinary potential to self-renew or to differentiate into other cell types with specialized functions. Despite many years of successful research in the Stem cells field, major challenges remained ahead. In particular, the interaction and cross-talk between Stem cells and immune cells.

Microfluidics is a technology in which cells reside in small channels, ranging from 1-100 micrometers in width or height. The flow rate and media compositions can be precisely and automatically controlled. Thus, the microfluidics platform allows a tight control over the extracellular environment and by that overcome many of the limitations of the traditional in-vitro cultures. Moreover, the ability to shape channels into complex structures allow mimicking tissue architecture and trap cells in many different configurations. Thus, this unique platform has many advantages in studying the interaction between different types of cells.

In this project, we develop a microfluidics platform that will allow unraveling some keywords of the molecular language that is spoken between stem cells and immune cells and explore how it affects the biology of Stem cells and the behavior of immune cells. In particular, we will study the relationship between the cues that drive T-cell polarization and stemness. This interaction has a crucial role in shaping the stem cells niche and in the recruitment of immune cells to it. Deciphering this interaction will reveal key features of the stem cells niche and promote our ability to optimize Stem cells cultivation and expansion ex vivo for research purposes and cell therapy.

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