Collaborative research between Chung-Ang University's Department of Convergence Engineering Professor Kim Tae-hyung's team and Sookmyung Women's University's Professor Kyung-min Choi's team
High versatility and scalability, it is possible to utilize various stem cell differentiation

A joint research team between Chung-Ang University Kim Tae-Hyeong and Sookmyung Women's University Professor Choi Kyung-Min (From left: Jo Yeon-Woo Ph.D. student, Kim Tae-Hyeong (Chungang University), Ji Seo-Hyeon Ph.D. student, Choi Kyung-Min (Sookmyung Women's University)) (Photo courtesy of Chung-Ang University)
A joint research team between Chung-Ang University Kim Tae-Hyeong and Sookmyung Women's University Professor Choi Kyung-Min (From left: Jo Yeon-Woo Ph.D. student, Kim Tae-Hyeong (Chungang University), Ji Seo-Hyeon Ph.D. student, Choi Kyung-Min (Sookmyung Women's University)) (Photo courtesy of Chung-Ang University)
Description of stem cell automatic differentiation platform SMENA (Photo courtesy of Chung-Ang University)
Description of stem cell automatic differentiation platform SMENA (Photo courtesy of Chung-Ang University)

Chung-Ang University (President Park Sang-Gue) announced on the 6th that a research team led by Professor Kim Tae-hyung of the Department of Convergence Engineering succeeded in producing the world's first "Stem Cell Automation Platform (SMENA)" that can easily acquire desired cells by simulating the natural differentiation process of stem cells.

In order to acquire specific cells through original stem cells, a process called ‘differentiation’, a unique transformation process unique to stem cells, is required. At this time, in order to increase the efficiency and stability of cell differentiation, a technology that simulates the characteristics of the in vivo environment is treated as important.

Until now, we have relied on a passive method in which humans periodically replace the culture medium to which differentiation inducing factors have been added. Due to this, it was difficult to avoid a difference from the actual in vivo environment, and there was a problem that variability occurred in the stem cell differentiation efficiency and cell acquisition rate.

Professor Taehyung Kim's research team is the first in the world to develop the 'Single Metal-Organic Framework-Embedded Nanopit Arrays (SMENA)' using a single metal-organic framework nanoparticle pattern that constantly releases differentiation factors during long-term culture. Completed and solved the problem. This is an achievement achieved by manufacturing uniformly shaped nanopits on a cell culture substrate and applying the technology of placing nanoparticles one by one in each nanohole.

SMENA induced neuronal differentiation with only the culture medium without denaturation or loss of nanoparticles during the differentiation period of 2 weeks or more. It was also confirmed that the supply of stable differentiation factors promotes neuronal differentiation more than 40 times compared to the existing differentiation protocol.

Professor Kim Tae-hyeong said, “SMENA substrates can be used to differentiate other types of stem cells, including mesenchymal stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells, and embryonic stem cells. We expect it to be a new type of stem cell culture platform with high versatility and scalability.”

This study was conducted through the Ministry of Science and ICT's bio-medical technology development project, mid-sized researcher support project, and the Ministry of SMEs and Startups' industry-academic collaboration R&D project. Cho Yeon-woo, a Ph.D. student at Chung-Ang University's Kim Tae-hyung's lab, and Ji Seo-hyun, a Ph.D. student at Sookmyung Women's University's Choi Kyung-min's lab, were the first authors and Kim Tae-hyung and Choi Kyung-min's corresponding authors. Dr. Intan Rosalina Suhito, Graduate School of Convergence Engineering at Chung-Ang University, Lee Jung-hyun, Graduate School of Convergence Engineering, Global Bio, Sungkyunkwan UniversityProfessor Park Chun-kwon of the Department of Medical Engineering also participated as a co-author.

More detailed research results can be found in the paper Single metal-organic framework–embedded nanopit arrays: A new way to control neural stem cell differentiation. The paper was published online on the 20th of last month in Science Advances, a sister journal of Science, one of the world's top three academic journals. It was also selected as Research Highlight of Nature Reviews Materials (IF 66.31), which summarizes the latest research achievements in the world's most noteworthy materials field, and is scheduled to be published in May.

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