Tissue-electronics interface

Integrating electronics into engineered cardiac patches – Current cardiac patches do not allow for online monitoring and reporting of engineered-tissue performance, and cannot intervene to deliver signals for patch activation or to enable its integration with the host. We have developed an engineered cardiac patch that integrates cardiac cells with flexible, freestanding electronics. These cyborg cardiac patches are capable of recording tissue function as well as intervening with tissue function by supplying electrical stimulation. In addition, through the deposition of electroactive polymers onto the electronics we have developed a method to deliver various molecules in an on demand, controlled manner.

Freestanding electronic mesh device.
Freestanding electronic mesh device.

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SEM image of a rolled device.
SEM image of a rolled device.

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Freestanding 3D electronic scaffold integrated within ECM hydrogel.
Freestanding 3D electronic scaffold integrated within ECM hydrogel.

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Freestanding electronic mesh device.
Freestanding electronic mesh device.

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Degradable electronic scaffold fabrication.
Degradable electronic scaffold fabrication.

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Scanning electron micrograph of four sensing/stimulating electrodes.
Scanning electron micrograph of four sensing/stimulating electrodes.

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Tissue organization within the degradable electronic scaffold.
Tissue organization within the degradable electronic scaffold.

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Degradable electronic scaffold fabrication.
Degradable electronic scaffold fabrication.

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Degradable electronics - We have developed elastic, biodegradable, electronic scaffolds composed of electrospun fibers that serve as both a substrate and a passivation layer for evaporated gold electrodes. These scaffolds can record tissue function and intervene through electrical stimulation and drug release when necessary. Post implantation, these electronic scaffolds degrade, leading to the dissociation of the inorganic material from within the scaffold. Such technology can be built upon to create a variety of degradable devices for tissue engineering of various tissues, as well as pristine cell-free devices with electronic components for short-term in vivo use.

3D printed bio-electronics - 
Using 3D printing, cardiac patches with built-in soft and stretchable electronics were manufactured in one step. A patch like this can withstand continual physical deformations as those taking place in the myocardium during contraction. The printed patch was able to monitor and control the function of the engineered tissue. As a result, such transplantable patches may be able to restore heart contractility and allow physicians to monitor the implant function and intervene efficiently from afar when necessary.

The 3D printed patch is flexible and soft
The 3D printed patch is flexible and soft

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The printed cardiac patch containing 8 electrodes. Scale bar = 2 mm.
The printed cardiac patch containing 8 electrodes. Scale bar = 2 mm.

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Immunostaining for sarcomeric actinin (pink) and nuclei (blue) of a 12-day cyborg patch. 10 µm
Immunostaining for sarcomeric actinin (pink) and nuclei (blue) of a 12-day cyborg patch. 10 µm

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The 3D printed patch is flexible and soft
The 3D printed patch is flexible and soft

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