Graphene-Alginate Microfibers for the Encapsulation of PC12 Cells

M. McNamara and N.N. Hashemi
Iowa State University, Kansas, United States

Keywords: Biomaterials, Tissue engineering, 3D Cell Culture, Graphene, Conductive biopolymer

Microfluidically manufacturing graphene-alginate microfibers create a novel approach for possibilities for encapsulating rat PC12 cells for 3D cell culturing within conductive 3D tissue scaffolding. This approach creates a physiologically relevantenvironment for measuring cell mechanisms related to PC12 cell-to-cell communication. Cells are encapsulated by using the biopolymer alginate, which is and combined with exfoliated graphite to create a conductive graphene-alginate hydrogel pre-polymer solution, which. This solution is then microfluidically chemically crosslinked with a Calcium Chloride dehydrate (CaCl2) solution within a microfluidic device to produce a hydrogel microfiber with highly tunable conductivity and mechanical properties. Conductivity measurements of up to 8 S/m were achieved, with a minimum reading of 1 S/m.