Marangoni flows drive the alignment of fibrillar cell-laden hydrogels.

TitleMarangoni flows drive the alignment of fibrillar cell-laden hydrogels.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsNerger, BA, Brun, P-T, Nelson, CM
JournalSci Adv
Date Published2020 Jun

When a sessile droplet containing a solute in a volatile solvent evaporates, flow in the droplet can transport and assemble solute particles into complex patterns. Transport in evaporating sessile droplets has largely been examined in solvents that undergo complete evaporation. Here, we demonstrate that flow in evaporating aqueous sessile droplets containing type I collagen-a self-assembling polymer-can be harnessed to engineer hydrated networks of aligned collagen fibers. We find that Marangoni flows direct collagen fiber assembly over millimeter-scale areas in a manner that depends on the rate of self-assembly, the relative humidity of the surrounding environment, and the geometry of the droplet. Skeletal muscle cells that are incorporated into and cultured within these evaporating droplets collectively orient and subsequently differentiate into myotubes in response to aligned networks of collagen. Our findings demonstrate a simple, tunable, and high-throughput approach to engineer aligned fibrillar hydrogels and cell-laden biomimetic materials.

Alternate JournalSci Adv
PubMed ID32582851
PubMed Central IDPMC7292634
Grant ListR01 CA187692 / CA / NCI NIH HHS / United States
R01 HL120142 / HL / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States
R21 HL118532 / HL / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States