Orit Shefi is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Engineering at Bar-Ilan University. She is the head of the Neuro-engineering and Regeneration laboratory and a member of the Bar Ilan Institute of Nanotechnologies and Advanced Materials. In 2005, she earned her Ph.D. from the Department of Physics at Tel-Aviv University. From 2005-2008, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Diego. Her research focuses on nanotechnologies for neuronal engineering, 3D platforms for directed neuronal regeneration, magnetic manipulations of cells, and drug delivery tools.
Acoustic manipulation is an emerging non-invasive method enabling precise spatial control of cells in their native environment. Applying this method for organizing neurons is invaluable for neural tissue engineering applications. Here, we used surface and bulk standing acoustic waves for large-scale patterning of Dorsal Root Ganglia neurons and PC12 cells forming neuronal cluster networks, organized biomimetically. We showed that by changing parameters such as voltage intensity or cell concentration we were able to affect cluster properties. We examined the effects of acoustic arrangement on cells atop 3D hydrogels for up to 6 days and showed that assembled cells spontaneously grew branches in a directed manner towards adjacent clusters, infiltrating the matrix. These findings have great relevance for tissue engineering applications as well as for mimicking architectures and properties of native tissues
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