Recently ME Assistant Professor Jianping Fu was highlighted in Popular Science for his research on stem cells. The October issue covered how Fu and his colleagues have discovered that the force exerted by a stem cell onto a surface plays an important part in determining the type of cell it will eventually develop into. Fu placed stem cells on scaffolds of 13-micron long silicone posts and determined that altering the amount of force could change the cells’ future goal from that of a fat cell into more bone-like properties. Knowing how to manipulate the fate of stem cells plays a vital role in making therapies based on them easier to develop.
Fu is an assistant professor in the Mechanical Engineering and the Biomedical Engineering departments at the University of Michigan. He received his B.E from the University of Science and Technology of Chine in 2000, his M.S from the University of California in 2002, and his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2007. The title of “Surface Where a Stem Cell Grows Can Determine Its Future” used in the PopSci article is more accurately described with “Micro/nanosystems for engineering synthetic ex vivo stem cell microenvironments.”
The work was also previously published in Nature Methods and the continued publication in Popular Science will allow a wider audience to view Fu’s work.