Journal of Undergraduate Research


differentiation of iPSCs, cardiomyocytes utilizing extracellular matrix, tissue engineering


Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology


Chemical Engineering


According to the American Heart Association, Ischemic heart disease is the principal cause of death. Many potential therapies are being simultaneously explored and among the most promising is tissue engineering of cardiac scaffolds. In vitro culturing of mature cardiomyocytes has the potential to lay the foundation for products such as cardiac patches for treatment of early stages of Ischemic heart disease or atrial septal defects, and developing entire replacement hearts. However, cardiomyocyte cell culture and experimentation has encountered various difficulties; the inability to proliferate, incomplete maturation, and having a small window of functional contraction. Conversely, iPSCs can partially differentiate into cardiac progenitor cells, adhere to a surface, then continue to proliferate prior to maturation into cardiomyocytes. Vitronectin is the most prevalent cell adhesive protein used for stem cell culture, however it is not usable as an implant scaffold or for clinical applications. Extracellular matrix (ECM) is a natural protein structure that provides a scaffold, growth factors, and other necessary components for tissues and organs. Due to the abundance of signaling proteins contained in ECM, it is a prime candidate to be used as a structural foundation for various cell lines. The objective of this project was to differentiate iPSCs into cardiomyocytes on Vitronectin or cardiac ECM (cECM) and then characterize the results to determine their relative feasibility as tools in future translational research.