Multifunctional pyrolytic carbon scaffolds for stem cell research

Afia Asif, Silvia Garcia Lopéz, Suhith Hemanth, Yasmin Mohammad Hassan, Arto Heiskanen, Alberto Martínez Serrano, Stephan Sylvest Keller, Marta Pereira, Jenny Emnéus*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearch


Stem cells have the ability to both self-renew and differentiate into specialized cells in response to appropriate signals. Cell replacement therapy using stem cells is one future strategy for Parkinson’s disease.
Sophisticated micro/nano surfaces/structures have been employed as one way towards better understanding of cell to cell signalling mechanisms. In the presence of such structures, cells are continuously subjected to mechanical forces that influence cell division, gene expression, migration, morphogenesis and adhesion [1]. Pyrolytic carbon has been used as a tissue engineering scaffold in biosensing and life science applications due to its ability to be patterned as well as multifunctional nature i.e. conductivity, biocompatibility and mechanical support [2,3].
This work presents the microfabrication and evaluation of 2D (flat) and 3D pyrolytic carbon surfaces/scaffolds (ordered and unstructured micronanograss, Figure 1 top panel) serving both as a support for in vitro differentiation of human neural stem cells (hNSCs) and as an electrochemical sensor for the subsequent amperometric detection of potassium stimulated dopamine exocytosis. 3D topographies were microfabricated to guide the differentiation of hNSCs (Figure 1b & c top panel). 3D structures are believed to better mimic the in vivo environment by providing mechanical and structural support to enhance stem cells growth and differentiation. Our preliminary investigations show that 3D carbon micro/nanostructures (Figure 1b & c, bottom panel) enhance neurogenesis and maturation of hNSCs into dopaminergic neurons. In Figure 1d it can also be observed that the dopamine peak currents are significantly higher for the 3D structures.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event2nd European Biosensor Symposium - Florence, Italy
Duration: 18 Feb 201921 Feb 2019
Conference number: 2


Conference2nd European Biosensor Symposium
Internet address


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